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A Quiet Day in the Woods

American Art

The couple depicted in this secluded setting has been identified as Homer’s older brother Charles and his wife, Martha. Charles is absorbed in reading a newspaper, a sign of male involvement in a larger world. Martha sits nearby gazing over his shoulder—but at a slight remove with her book closed, suggesting a closer communion with the natural world. Their dress identifies them as urban visitors to the woods. As the cover image for a June issue of Appletons’ Journal, the illustration served to remind readers of the benefits to be gained during a summer excursion from the hectic city to a peaceful spot in the forest.
MEDIUM Wood engraving
DATES 1870
DIMENSIONS Image: 6 1/4 x 6 1/2 in. (15.9 x 16.5 cm) Sheet: 11 3/8 x 8 1/4 in. (28.9 x 21 cm) Frame: 20 x 15 x 1 1/2 in. (50.8 x 38.1 x 3.8 cm)
CREDIT LINE Gift of Harvey Isbitts
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
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