A Visit from the Old Mistress by Winslow Homer, 1876 (Smithsonian American Art Museum)
Winslow Homer (1836–1910) has often been called America’s favorite painter. Born into the Panic of 1837 and raised in the years before the Civil War, Homer came of age in a nation in crisis. His work was both quintessentially American and quietly replete with narratives for and about people of all races and ages.
Whether using pencil, watercolor, or, most famously, oil, Homer addressed the hopes and fears of his fellow Americans and invited his viewers into stories embedded with timeless questions of purpose and meaning. Like his contemporaries Twain and Whitman, Homer captured the landscape of a rapidly changing country with an artist’s probing insight as he evolved and adapted to the restless spirit of invention transforming his world.
Drawing on his new biography, Winslow Homer: American Passage, William R. Cross offers an illustrated look at the man behind the art and examines Homer’s role in American culture as a witness to the times in which he lived and the challenge of achieving a just and equitable society.
Cross is an independent scholar and a consultant to art and history museums. He served as the curator of Homer at the Beach: A Marine Painter’s Journey, 1869–1880, a 2019 exhibition at the Cape Ann Museum in Gloucester, Massachusetts.
At the program, copies of Winslow Homer: American Passage (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) are available for purchase and signing.
World Art History Certificate elective: Earn 1/2 credit*
*Enrolled participants in the World Art History Certificate Program receive 1/2 elective credit. Not yet enrolled? Learn about the program, its benefits, and how to register here.