A life of travel

After the war ended, Homer's reputation as one of the country's most promising painters continued to grow. Many of his early postwar paintings depicted American rural scenes, but as time passed he turned to other subjects. In the late 1870s, he traveled to the American South, where he produced a series of colorful paintings on black life. His dignified portraits of black families and workers made some white Southerners angry, but he ignored their complaints.

When one white Southern woman asked him, "Why don't you paint our lovely girls instead of these dreadful creatures?" he replied that he preferred painting black females because they were prettier.

During the 1880s and 1890s, Homer spent long periods of time in England, the West Indies, and Canada. All of these locations became subjects for his paintings, which by this time were well-known around the world. His base of operations, however, became a cottage at Prout's Neck, Maine, along the Atlantic Ocean. The rugged seascapes of this region became an inspiration for a series of bold paintings showing the power of the sea and man's relationship to the natural world. These dramatic works—Fog Warning (produced in 1885), Eight Bells (1886), The Wreck (1897), Right and Left (1909), and many others—became the most famous paintings of Homer's entire career. Homer died at Prout's Neck in 1910, leaving behind a long and distinguished body of work that continues to earn praise today.

Winslow Homer in 1867.

(Reproduced by permission of Corbis-Corporation [Bellevue].)

Winslow Homer in 1867.

(Reproduced by permission of Corbis-Corporation [Bellevue].)

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