Winslow Homer and the Camera: Photography and the Art of Painting
About the Exhibition
Winslow Homer and the Camera: Photography and the Art of Painting, the first exhibition to look at the role of photography in Homer’s artistic practice. On view June 22 through October 28, 2018, Winslow Homer and the Camera brings together over 130 objects by the artist across all mediums, ranging from master paintings to oil studies, drawings, prints, and photographs created in the United States and during his travels to Europe and the Caribbean. This comprehensive survey was inspired by the BCMA’s 2013 acquisition of a camera once owned by Homer and presents new research drawn in part from the museum’s extensive collection of works by the artist. Curated by co-director Frank H. Goodyear III and Bowdoin art history professor Dana E. Byrd, the exhibition will present a full picture of the artist’s working methods and will include noteworthy archival objects, such as three wooden mannequins, his palette and watercolor brushes, his walking stick and fishing net, and two of the three cameras he owned in his lifetime. Homer acquired his first cameras during a two-year sojourn abroad in England, a trip he took in his mid-forties seeking a new direction in his art. Upon his return in 1882, scholars noted a demonstrable change in his style of painting and choice of subjects. Taking this shift and the artist’s penchant for experimentation across mediums as a point of departure, Winslow Homer and the Camera questions how new visual technology impacted the artist’s production and engagement with subjects and unveils how photography became increasingly a part of Homer’s visual investigation and broader creative practice.
While Winslow Homer and the Camera: Photography and the Art of Painting draws principally from the Bowdoin College Museum of Art’s (BCMA) Winslow Homer Collection, the exhibition will also feature works on loan from twenty-five institutions and collectors from across the United States. Following its presentation at the BCMA, the exhibition will travel to the Brandywine River Museum of Art in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. Museum Director Thomas Padon noted, “Homer defined the look of America in the second half of the nineteenth century and is central to key artists in our collection, which gives the exhibition particular resonance here at Brandywine.”