2010 44¢ Winslow Homer
American Treasures Series
Issue Date: August 12, 2010
City: Richmond, VA
Standing at the sea’s edge, damp with the mist from the waves, a man waits patiently, brush in hand, for the sun to set. Once the light is perfect, he puts his brush to the canvas, capturing the calm yet unpredictable scene before him. The light will only remain for a few minutes, at which time he will pack his supplies and go home. But he will be back in this spot again the next day, calmly waiting.
For more than half a century, Winslow Homer (1836-1910) produced over 450 paintings conveying his vision of man’s relationship with nature. He showed exceptional talent from an early age, impressing his first teacher, his mother. Homer spent the first few years of his career as a lithographer’s apprentice, but left at the age of 21 to do freelance work. He spent about 20 years illustrating for various magazines, including Harper’s, who sent him to the front lines of the Civil War. There he sketched scenes of quiet camp life but also violent battles. Solemn after witnessing the brutalities of war, Homer’s art focused on the innocence of childhood and farm life.
By the 1870s, Homer became reclusive, but quickly discovered his talent with watercolors. He created some of his most enduring work, following his own advice – “look at nature, work independently, and solve your own problems.”