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Eight Bells

Winslow Homer

American Art

Already established as a successful painter, watercolorist, and illustrator, Winslow Homer decided to try his hand at etching during the revival of this medium, creating eight finished plates between 1884 and 1889. In Eight Bells, one of his finest efforts, two fishermen track their ship’s position amid stormy seas using nautical instruments and the sound of bells that rang from shore at set times of day. The powerfully simplified and asymmetrical composition not only heightens the drama of their plight but also reveals Homer’s familiarity with Japanese design principles.
MEDIUM Etching of black ink on light beige, medium thick, smooth textured wove paper
DATES 1887
DIMENSIONS Sheet: 23 7/8 x 29 3/8 in. (60.6 x 74.6 cm) Image: 18 15/16 x 24 1/2 in. (48.1 x 62.2 cm)
MARKINGS Framer's marks on verso in graphite
SIGNATURE Signed lower right in graphite: "Winslow Homer"
INSCRIPTIONS Inscribed in plate below image center: "Copyrighted 1887 by C. Klackner 17 E. 17th St. NY"
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CREDIT LINE Bequest of Anita Steckler
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