The Nature of Observation
written by Elizabeth Johns
University of California Press | ISBN 9780520227255
Hardback – 256 pages
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With close analysis of Homer's art and of the personal challenges he faced throughout his life, Winslow Homer: The Nature of Observation is the most comprehensive study to date of the relationship between the artist's work and the psychological stages of his life. Elizabeth Johns uses theories advanced by Erik Erikson and Daniel Levinson to look at Homer's evolution as a painter and a person within the context of the continuing dynamics of his family. Her incisive and absorbing readings of the artist's work take into account the developmental stages of young, middle, and late adulthood, analyzing what Homer painted at the various turning points in his life.
With this psychosocial approach, Johns examines the wood-engraved illustrations of Homer's early career in relationship to the values of his family; his images of the Civil War in the context of his young manhood; his paintings of the social scene and young women's place in it in connection with his own potential for marriage; his images of fisherwomen at Cullercoats and fishermen at Prout's Neck as they relate to his interior vision during middle age; and his intrigue with the sea in his late works as an identification with the larger processes of the universe. With more than seventy-five black-and-white illustrations and forty color plates of arresting images by this American master, Winslow Homer takes into account all available documentation, including the rich trove of the artist's correspondence at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art, and his entire body of work -- illustrations for wood engravings, watercolours, and oils.
Artist: Winslow Homer