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Artist: Winslow Homer
[American Painter, 1836-1910]

Title: Apple Picking

Date: 1878
Medium: watercolor
Dimensions: 18 x 21 cm (7 x 8 inches)
Location: Terra Foundation for American Art, Chicago

Image size: 1001 x 826 (215 Kbytes)
Image source: The Athenaeum
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Winslow Homer: Apple Picking

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Winslow Homer had two careers as an painter. He first established himself as a serious artist in the aftermath of the U.S. Civil War, depicting scenes of rural American life. While technically brilliant, some of his works from this era cross the border into somewhat sweet sentimentality, and for most art critics this is the kiss of death for an artist.

However (in my opinion), Apple Picking is representative of most of Homer's works of this period: a relatively neutral representation of what daily life was really like at the time. The only sentimental thing about it is how very distant the guns of the war seem.

Homer's second career began after he spent a period of time living in the fishing village of Tynemouth, England in 1881-82. Upon his return to America, his paintings were more forceful, and death was frequently in the scene or lurkung offstage. People no longer spent their days on sunny fields; they lived at the edge of the wildernesses of the forest and the sea.

Homer excelled in many areas. He was a superb illustrator and oil painter, but earned an even greater reputation as America's leading watercolorist. He was a memorable sporting painter and genre (everyday life) painter, but his most famous works are those that established him as one of the great marine painters of all time.
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