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Winslow Homer
     

Winslow Homer

by Nicolai Cikovsky
 

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In this volume of the Rizzoli Art Series, Nicolai Cikovsky, Jr. Curator of American and British Paintings and Deputy Senior Curator of Paintings, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., explains how Homer's 'utter independence from schools and masters' led him to create truly modern American Art.

Overview

In this volume of the Rizzoli Art Series, Nicolai Cikovsky, Jr. Curator of American and British Paintings and Deputy Senior Curator of Paintings, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., explains how Homer's 'utter independence from schools and masters' led him to create truly modern American Art.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Instead of Winslow Homer as unvarnished, naive democrat, an artist divorced from the intellectual life of his times, Cikovsky gives us a painter who was a modernist in his detachment, anxiety and impersonality. Plunging into New York City's seething cultural milieu in the 1860s, the Boston-born illustrator joined a loose artistic circle that included jounalist Eugene Benson, whose programmatic call for a modern, national, indigenous art struck a chord in Homer. But disillusionment set in with the corrupt Gilded Age of the 1870s, and Homer took refuge in art, plumbing nature's elemental power in his seascapes, and investigating the act of seeing in vibrant, spontaneous watercolors of the tropics or the Maine coast. His later paintings grasp death with almost mystical immediacy. Curator of American art at the National Gallery, Cikovsky lays bare new worlds of meaning in this immensely rewarding, superbly illustrated reassessment. (July)
Library Journal
The 19th-century realist Winslow Homer first gained wide renown with his Civil War battlefield illustrations in Harper's Weekly. A year spent in Paris after the war led to a greater acuity of vision, and by the mid-1870s he was one of the leading progenitors of naturalism and the most celebrated American painter of his day. Known for his watercolors, which have all the intensity and ardor of the most accomplished oil paintings, the solid outlines and luminosity of his surfaces show little influence from his contemporaries the Impressionists. His art was unquestionably individual and native. He was a reclusive outdoorsman who captured dozens of scenes highlighting the milieus he loved: seafaring vessels, Adirondack and Canadian hunting grounds, Bahamian beaches, and the rocky coast of Maine, to which he retreated in his last years. This outstanding new book is the catalog of a retrospective of 235 paintings touring East Coast museumsthe largest gathering of his work ever. Cikovsky and Kelly (curators of American and British art at the National Gallery of Art) divide his career into eight chronological chapters, each with a straightforward, expository essay securely planting the work in a geographical and biographical context. The format is large but unostentatious, striking the perfect balance between text and illustration. This is easily the fairest, most intelligent, and best survey to date on this popular American master.Douglas F. Smith, Oakland P.L., Cal.
Donna Seaman
Winslow Homer (18361910) was in the news as a comprehensive retrospective of his magnificent paintings and watercolors opened at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., an exhibition that will live on between the covers of this spectacular volume. Cikovsky and Kelly, curators at the National Gallery, present a contextually rich and vibrant analysis of Homer's life and groundbreaking work. A self-taught artist with an "almost sensuous love of paint," Homer, like so many of his contemporaries, was deeply affected by the Civil War. His early illustrations and paintings demonstrate his "technical strength and assurance; color, modeling, and drawing; truthfulness, and lack of sentimentality," qualities he would elevate to new levels as he moved on to paint candid scenes of everyday life. There is an earthy grace to his dignified, hardworking figures, many of whom gaze contemplatively out into the distance, a gaze not unlike that of the artist himself. The authors track Homer's major themes, all of which are intrinsically connected to place, and discuss the progression from ideology to aesthetics, from shimmering pastoral romance to dark and stormy seas. Homer was a master not only of technique but also of interpreting light, motion, and our complex relationship with nature.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780810911932
Publisher:
Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
Publication date:
06/01/1990
Series:
Library of American Art
Pages:
160
Product dimensions:
9.00(w) x 12.50(h) x 1.00(d)

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