Jan 22, 2009

A Fisherman's Daughter

A Fisherman's Daughter


Winslow Homer

(American, 1836–1910)

Watercolor and gouache over graphite

Sheet: 24.2 x 32.9 cm (9 1/2 x 12 15/16 in.)

Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1943.660



Homer created some of the most luminous and influential watercolors in the history of the medium. A Fisherman’s Daughter, painted in Gloucester, Massachusetts, is among a group of works that represent his first sustained use of the medium. Here, three girls sit on the shore of a sunlit beach and play with a lobster. Their downcast eyes suggest a solemn tranquility to their activity. The life of the local fishermen was perilous; they often spent weeks away from home and were sometimes lost at sea. Thus, waiting was a central part of life for Gloucester families. An overturned boat on the dunes behind the figures evokes the ominous form of a coffin.

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