Please note: This talk has been rescheduled to be presented as a virtual event. The Zoom link will be sent after registration as a separate email on the day of the event.
Join us for an exciting talk that tackles the seldom-asked question, “Was Winslow Homer modern?”
Does he deserve to be viewed as a figure whose work holds a place beside the modernist innovators of Europe, such as Edouard Manet, or the French Impressionists, or James McNeill Whistler?
It’s surprising that this central question about the significance of his work has so seldom been posed.
The explanation for why this question has seldom been asked, of course, is that, traditionally, Homer has been viewed as a uniquely American artist, untouched by foreign influences. To suggest that he shared a kinship with French painters has always been something of a heresy.
However, if we consider the matter, what’s striking is how powerfully his work stands apart from that of every other American artist of the 19th century and seems more alive and more contemporary.
As Albert Ten Eyck Gardner wrote in 1961: “Though Homer’s career spans almost exactly the years of Queen Victoria’s era, it is somehow not quite possible to think of him as an old-fashioned artist.”
Has Winslow Homer’s work been misunderstood for well over a century?
This talk will explore the question of French and other modern influences on Homer’s work and propose a new way of viewing and assessing his achievement.
About the Speaker
Henry Adams is a graduate of Harvard College and received his M.A. and PH.D. from Yale, where he received the Frances Blanshard Prize for the best doctoral dissertation in art history. He is the author of twenty or thirty books or book-length catalogs in the American field, and of over 400 scholarly and popular articles, including studies of Thomas Jefferson, George Caleb Bingham, Thomas Eakins, Thomas Hart Benton, and Jackson Pollock. Painter Andrew Wyeth described his book Eakins Revealed, a radical reinterpretation of the artist’s life and work, as "without question the most extraordinary biography I have ever read on an artist.” He currently serves as Ruth Coulter Heede Professor of Art History at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.
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- –A Tale of Two ExhibitionsAfterthoughts on curating Whistler to Cassatt: American Painters in France