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The Fishing Party

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.

Fishing was one of the sports newly available to women as a “refined diversion” after the Civil War. The convenience of lightweight equipment and a higher degree of social freedom encouraged “the piscatorial efforts of the ladies.” Nevertheless, the tone of humorous condescension expressed in the text accompanying Homer’s illustration suggests certain limits to female participation in what was still a traditionally male pursuit: “Among the various things that women cannot do as well as men, Miss [Susan B.] Anthony to the contrary notwithstanding, are whist-playing and angling.”

ENGRAVER John Filmer
MEDIUM Wood engraving
DATES 1869
DIMENSIONS Sheet: 9 x 12 3/4 in. (22.9 x 32.4 cm)
CREDIT LINE Gift of Harvey Isbitts
CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Page from Appleton's Journal of Literature, Science, and Art, October 2, 1869, vol. 2, Supplement Drawn by Winslow Homer, engraved by John Filmer
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
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