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Winslow Homer

American Art

Regarded as one of the great American Realists of the nineteenth century, Winslow Homer is known primarily for his large body of works in oil and watercolor. However, he also had an early career as a freelance illustrator, making drawings for wood engravings that were reproduced in mass-circulation periodicals such as Harper’s Weekly. In 1998, the Brooklyn Museum received a generous gift of more than 250 wood-engraved illustrations by Homer from Harvey Isbitts.

Homer was commissioned to create five illustrations for the serialized novel, Susan Fielding, the first of which shows Susan on the train departing London for the ferry to France. Orphaned and impoverished, she is on her way to live in Brittany in the care of an elderly uncle. Rooted in contrasts between city and country, wealth and poverty, virtue and duplicity, the novel is full of romantic intrigue. Before leaving her country village, Susan had unwisely committed herself to marry the churlish Tom Collinson. In the meantime, she has developed feelings for the artistic and sensitive George Blake. George sees her off to France, pressing her to allow him to visit her over the summer. As the train pulls away, “Tom Collinson, her engagement, everything in the wide world but the fact of losing Blake, fades from her, and this poor little daughter of Eve puts her head through the window, and in her clear, girl’s voice, cries, “Come!’”

MEDIUM Wood engraving
DATES 1869
DIMENSIONS Image: 4 7/8 x 6 7/8 in. (12.4 x 17.5 cm) Sheet: 5 7/8 x 9 1/4 in. (14.9 x 23.5 cm) Frame: 15 x 20 x 1 1/2 in. (38.1 x 50.8 x 3.8 cm)
INSCRIPTIONS Lower left, below image: "Drawn by Winslow Homer."
CREDIT LINE Gift of Harvey Isbitts
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
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