Our Watering Places--Horse-Racing at Saratoga
The term “watering place” was coined in the mid-eighteenth century to describe a resort visited by fashionable folk, either for sea bathing or for drinking or bathing in the waters of a mineral spring. Saratoga Springs, New York, was considered the premier summer resort for the social elite from the mid-1860s until the end of the nineteenth century. Then, as now, the town's tourist season reached its peak during August, when the historic track opened for racing, an event reported in the article that this engraving by Winslow Homer illustrated.
Regarded as one of the great American Realists of the nineteenth century, 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.
Sheet: 9 3/16 x 13 7/8 in. (23.3 x 35.2 cm)
Frame: 16 3/4 x 22 3/4 x 1 1/2 in. (42.5 x 57.8 x 3.8 cm)
Gift of Harvey Isbitts
Page from Harper's Weekly, August 26, 1865, vol. IX, p. 533
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