First Impressions: Winslow Homer and the World of Printmaking presents a selection of approximately twenty-five prints by one of America’s most admired artists of the late nineteenth century. Hailed as an insightful interpreter of American life, Homer’s reputation has been shaped by his vast achievements in oil and watercolor. However, long before Homer became celebrated as a painter, he was first known to the American public as an illustrator through the more than two-hundred wood-engraved images published by Harper’s Weekly and other popular magazines between 1857 and 1875.
In addition to featuring a range of these illustrations, the exhibition will include seldom seen etchings such as Mending the Tears (1888), Perils of the Sea (1888), and Fly Fishing, Saranac Lake (1889). Homer’s desire to establish himself as a serious printmaker arose the year after his return, in 1882, from an extended stay in the fishing village of Cullercoats on the North Sea of England. Homer settled in a cottage on the ocean in Prout’s Neck, Maine in 1883 and for four years printmaking absorbed much of his time and creative energy. Homer only produced eight etchings and they correspond to the dramatic subject of his sea paintings. This exhibition will explore how printmaking shaped both Homer’s creative and commercial ambitions. First Impressions: Winslow Homer and the World of Printmaking is organized by The Hyde Collection and curated by Erin B. Coe, chief curator.