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Exhibition Offers New Insight into the Life of One of America's Most Celebrated Artists: Winslow Homer
Winslow Homer: The Nature and Rhythm of Lifefrom the Arkell Museum at Canajoharie
June 6–August 24, 2014
COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. – This summer, the Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown, New York, presents Winslow Homer: The Nature and Rhythm of Life, from the Arkell Museum at Canajoharie, featuring over 21 original works including oil paintings and delicate watercolors collected by Bartlett Arkell, the founder and first President of the Beech-Nut Packing Company. This marks the first time these exceptional Homer paintings will be displayed as a complete collection. The exhibition contains two works now in other collections, including a painting owned by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
The exhibition, conceived and organized by the Arkell Museum at Canajoharie, is made possible through a unique collaboration with the Fenimore Art Museum, which was awarded a $74,000 grant from the New York State Regional Economic Development Council to produce a summer exhibition. The funds are being used to present the exhibition at Fenimore and to develop an accompanying catalog.
"This mutually beneficial collaboration will be seen as a driver of cultural enhancement in the area,” said Dr. Paul S. D’Ambrosio, President and CEO of the Fenimore Art Museum. “We want to thank our state REDC and Governor Andrew Cuomo for realizing this opportunity to support the arts and tourism in the Cooperstown region.”
This collection of Homer's masterworks includes examples from all phases of his career, representing work from his earliest known painting of a young boy feeding chickens to the famous painting Watching the Breakers created in 1896. The paintings were acquired by Bartlett Arkell in the 1930s and 40s working with Macbeth Gallery in New York City.
Winslow Homer (1836–1910) is regarded by many as the greatest American painter of the nineteenth century. He was born in Boston and began his career as a commercial printmaker. During the Civil War, he worked as a correspondent for Harper’s Weekly illustrating scenes of everyday life in Union Army camps. As with other artists of that time, he soon traveled to Paris where he observed the painting techniques of his peers. Returning home after only one year, he began to achieve amazing results experimenting with color and light.
Homer had a consistent reputation and was widely celebrated throughout his life. He is most known for the works created late in his career of the New England coast focusing on timeless American themes of man versus nature and man’s place in the natural world. These works are considered some of his most famous. Homer also painted in other regions including the Adirondacks, Canada, Florida, and the Caribbean.
"This is one of the finest collections of Homer's work you will find anywhere in the country." D’Ambrosio added. "Because it encapsulates all the phases of his career, very few museums could claim to have such a collection.”
The exhibition catalog provides new information on Homer including data obtained from the recent examination of the works completed at the Williamstown Art Conservation Center in Massachusetts, and a review of Bartlett Arkell’s correspondence records housed at the Archives of American Art. Details found on the works, such as marks, inscriptions, and the use of brush strokes, will make the world look at the artist in a very different way. Written by Homer scholars under the direction of the Arkell Museum, the catalog will be available when the exhibition opens at the Fenimore Art Museum in June, providing extensive information on the history of each work.
The exhibition is on view at the Fenimore Art Museum from June 6–August 24, 2014. The exhibition was organized by the Arkell Museum at Canajoharie.
This fall, the exhibition will be on display at the Arkell Museum at Canajoharie from September 2, 2014–January 4, 2015. The Arkell Museum is located just off exit 29 on the New York State Thruway, halfway between Albany and Utica.