Director Emeritus Grant Holcomb speaks about this object.
This is one of the "pilgrimage paintings" that I have spoken about—a great work of art by one of the major figures in the history of art. The Artist's Studio in an Afternoon Fog, was painted in 1892 by Winslow Homer, arguably the finest painter in 19th-century America. Scholars agree that this is one of Homer's masterworks and Homer, himself, referred to it as one of his "great" paintings.
Depicted is the center of Homer's universe: the studio in which he worked; the home in which he lived with his father, brother and sister-in-law; and the ocean and land that inspired him to paint some of the finest land and sea scapes in American art.
At the center of the composition stands his studio with the balcony from which he observed the ever-changing drama of sea and sky. Above the studio, as if in a gesture of baptismal blessing, the sun emerges from the yellow-gray fog, hovering over the artist’s sacred space. The sun’s central positioning reminds us that Homer once told his father, “The sun will not rise or set without my notice or thanks.”
The artist’s familial and creative spaces are integrated and unified with nature through the three part division of the composition (that is, ocean, land and sky) and through the predominant tones of browns and grays that, with the yellow-gray fog, convey the ever-moody climate of coastal Maine.
As an early biographer wrote, “The place, the time and the man were well met.”
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