Homer at the Beach: A Marine Painter's Journey, 1869-1880

Aug. 3, 2019 — Dec. 1, 2019

An Exploration of the Earliest Marine Works of Winslow Homer

Homer at the Beach brings together some 50 original works by renowned American artist Winslow Homer (1836–1910). The exhibition will be the first close examination of the formation of this great artist as a marine painter. The Cape Ann Museum will be the sole venue for this exhibition, which will include loans from some 40 public and private collections.

In 1869, Winslow Homer exhibited his first picture of the sea. He was an ambitious New York illustrator — not yet recognized as an artist — and freshly back from France. Over the next 11 years, Homer’s journey would take him to a variety of marine destinations, from New Jersey to Maine, but especially — and repeatedly — to Gloucester and other parts of Cape Ann.

It was on Cape Ann that Homer made his first watercolors and where he discovered his calling: to be a marine artist. And it was in Gloucester in 1880, at the end of these 11 years, where he enjoyed the most productive season of his life, composing more than 100 watercolors of astonishing beauty. Homer’s journey forever changed his life and the art of his country.

This exhibition will reveal new aspects of Homer, for the first time placing these paintings, drawings and even ceramic work in their rich geographic, cultural and historical settings, on the 150th anniversary of Homer’s first paintings of the sea.

Homer at the Beach: A Marine Painter’s Journey, 1869-1880 at the Cape Ann Museum will run concurrently with Winslow Homer: Eyewitness at the Harvard Art Museums, a complementary exhibition opening August 31.

Shop here for the Homer at the Beach exhibition catalog


Related Programs

Winslow Homer and Women's Bathing Practices
Presented by Elizabeth Block from The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Saturday, August 17 at 10:30 a.m.

Winslow Homer: Picturing the Tropics
Presented by Dana Byrd, Bowdoin College
Thursday, August 29 at 7:00 p.m.

Homer’s Wine-Dark Seas
Presented by Marc Simpson, Independent Scholar
Saturday, September 14 at 2:00 p.m.

Winslow Homer and the North Sea
Presented by Elizabeth Athens, University of Connecticut
Saturday, November 16 at 2:00 p.m.


Winslow Homer: New Insights
Saturday, October 5

Download details of the Homer Symposium here

This full-day symposium will include presentation of scholarly papers, lunch and a closing panel discussion followed by a reception. Participants will include: Kathleen Foster (Robert L. McNeil, Jr. Curator of American Art and Director, Center for American Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art); Ethan Lasser (incoming John Moors Cabot Chair, Art of the Americas, MFA Boston); Martha Tedeschi (Elizabeth and John Moors Cabot Director, Harvard Art Museums); and Sylvia Yount (Lawrence A. Fleischman Curator In Charge, The American Wing, The Metropolitan Museum of Art). Papers will be presented by: Adam Greenhalgh (National Gallery of Art); Diana Greenwold (Portland Museum of Art); Judith Walsh (Buffalo State College); Asma Naeem (Baltimore Museum of Art); Ross Barrett (Boston University); Melissa Trafton (University of New Hampshire).


Download the press release here

Watch "Need to Know: Arts & Culture" with guest curator William R. Cross on 1623 Studios


This exhibition has been made possible with lead support from The Mr. and Mrs. Raymond J. Horowitz Foundation for the Arts, Inc. Generous support has been provided by Anne Rogers Haley & John F. Haley, Jr.; and John S. Rando, Jr. Additional support was gratefully received from a range of other donors.



Winslow Homer (1836–1910), Children on the Beach, 1873. Oil on canvas, 12 3/4 in. x 16 3/4 in. Private Collection.

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