By John Boudreau, Communications Intern
Though Winslow Homer is today regarded as one of America’s preeminent artists, he didn’t always meet with such universal critical approval during his career. This week, we take a look at some positive reviews and comments. Do you agree with the reviewers? Disagree? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below. Next week, we’ll highlight some not-so-positive reviews. Stay tuned!
“Though not remarkable for powerful drawing nor for any especially beautiful quality of color, this picture has a force about it, an air of truth, a fine sculpturesque quality of modeling that puts it far beyond the ordinary well-done sort of work that we are bound to praise for its honesty, but which does not excite our enthusiasm. In this picture there is a breath of great art…[Homer’s] ‘Undertow,’ by its virility, its truth, its sincerity of intention, outranks every picture in the Academy exhibition.”—“Fine Arts. The Academy Exhibition—I,” The Nation 44 (14 April 1887): 327
Shepherdess of Houghton Farm, 1878
“Mr. Homer has started and has well under way a watercolor drawing taken from the studies, which is admirably composed. In shadow on the crest of a ridge in gently rolling country lies stretched on the grass, a young girl, surrounded by her sheep. The adjoining rise, on which are a few trees, is in full sunlight, up against which the foreground figures are sharply defined”—“Fine Arts. Studio Notes,” New York Herald, 11 November 1878
“McDonald called—Said 3 Winslow Homer watercolors would be there for me to see….The Winslow Homers came—A ‘Log Jam’ excellent but $3000—A Beach Scene not finished—A pastoral scene with ‘Sheep, Pasture & a Girl 1878’–$1000—I never saw one with sheep before—It was very poetic!!!!!!! [sic]”—Sterling Clark Diary, 29 September 1942 (74)
Reviews are excerpted from Winslow Homer: The Clark Collection, ed. Marc Simpson (Williamstown, MA: Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, 2013), pages 86 and 74.