Syracuse University Magazine

Becoming Winslow Homer

During the late 1870s, American artist Winslow Homer spent time at Houghton Farm, a seasonal residence in New York’s lower Hudson Valley where he honed the stylistic skills that would ultimately secure his reputation as one of America’s master painters. “Houghton Farm is just a stepping stone in that direction,” says noted Homer scholar and professor emeritus of fine arts David Tatham G’60, G’70. This fall, the SUArt Galleries presented Winslow Homer’s Empire State: Houghton Farm and Beyond, the first-ever exhibition centering on his work there as well as later paintings from East Hampton and the Adirondacks, including Paddling at Dusk (pictured below). Fifteen works from the exhibition were later displayed at Lubin House’s Louise and Bernard Palitz Gallery, along with a complementary show featuring examples from the University’s vast holdings of illustrations Homer did for the pictorial press early in his career. According to SUArt Galleries associate director David Prince G’83, who co-curated the exhibition with Tatham, the range of images provided context on Homer’s artistic development. “One can clearly see the evolution of his skills as a watercolorist,” Prince says. “The Houghton Farm works show Homer on the verge of becoming the Homer we all think about when we think of him as an artist.”                    

 —Jay Cox


Paddling at Dusk (1892), Courtesy of the Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester