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Winslow Homer – Biography

Winslow Homer was an American painter born in Boston in 1836. He was a landscape painter and mainly painted marine subjects during his later years.

Winslow Homer
Winslow Homer

Homer began his artistic career as a printmaker at a lithographic firm in Boston. He later moved to New York to pursue a life as an illustrator.

Winslow Homer Biography


At the age of 19, Homer was encouraged into this field by his mother. At her approval, he took up a job at a Lithographic firm run my John Bufford. He began as an apprentice by copying the designs of other artists.

Winslow Homer
The Green Hill

A few years later, he started to send his illustrations to periodicals namely, Ballou’s Pictorial and Harper’s Weekly. In 1859, he moved to New York to pursue his career as a freelance illustrator.

Winslow Homer Civil War

After moving to New York, Homer started to regularly illustrate for Harper’s Weekly. His work featured subjects of the Civil War. Some of his popular Civil War paintings were The Veteran in a New Field and Prisoners from the Front. His illustrations were of everyday life in the battle camp.

Winslow Homer
Prisoners from the Front

In 1861, Homer studied oil paintings and he started to concentrate more on painting than illustrations. Due to this, he was elected into the National Academy of Design where he started to exhibit his work.

In the 60s and 70s, Homer slowly started to expand his paintings into a seaside scenery. For this, he painted subjects from resorts in Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New Hampshire.

Winslow Homer Watercolor

In the latter part of the 70s, he began to paint Women lounging and children playing. He painted these canvases with oil colors and then added paint with watercolors also as part of his skills.

Due to his rising popularity and the increasing work he got, Homer left his job as a freelance illustrator and focussed on his paintings.

Winslow Homer Paintings

He went to Virginia to portray the proceedings of the Civil War and how the lives of the former slaves changed. One of the biggest changes in Homer’s artistic career occurred when he traveled to London in the early 1880s.

There he observed how women became stronger. His paintings started to depict these women, doing their chores as wells as mending boats, fixing nets and some women awaiting the return of the men.

Eastern Point Light Winslow Homer
Eastern Point Light

After moving back to North America, Homer settled in Prout, Maine where he stayed until his death. Due to his proximity to the sea, he painted a lot of landscape depicting marine life.


When painting scenes from the Civil War, Homer depicted the life in the camps rather than those in the battle. He wanted to show people the lives lead by the others who did not fight but still played a major part in the war.

Winslow Homer Artworks

Most of Homer’s marine paintings shows the relationships of men and the sea. He later started to focus solely on only the sea and depicted it when the tide was in or when it was receding. His artwork was seen as abstract work.

Winslow Homer

As he became older, Homer started to use bright colors for his paintings. He painted with more vigor and this led to critics saying that his paintings became more abstract as he became older.

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