Sunday, July 15, 2007

07/08 Academic Decathlon Art Selection #6

This painting is titled "A Visit From the Old Mistress" by Winslow Homer, painted in 1876. My art question for this post is to find out about Winslow Homer...he is one of the great American painters. I visited the Women's Museum in Dallas last week, wandered into the gift shop (one of my FAVORITE parts of museums!) and found several books on women's involvement during the Civil War. We tend to think of it as involving primarily the men, but aux contrair! This little gem of a book (yes, "little") is from a series entitled Women Who Dare and is about the Women of the Civil War. With brief accounts and photographs of some of the women who supported their husbands, sons and brothers during the conflict, I think you will find it really interesting! Google women + civil war and see who you find!

1 comment:

Vijay said...

Winslow Homer was an American landscape painter and printmaker, most famous for his marine subjects. Largely self-taught, he is considered one of the foremost painters in 19th century America, and a preeminent figure in American art.

In Winslow Homer’s 1876 painting, A Visit from the Old Mistress, the living conditions of these former slaves would appear not to have improved since before the time of the Civil War. Their dwelling is humble, and their homespun clothing is shabby. Yet the relationship between them and their former mistress is very different. The mistress clearly assumes the stature of a guest in the home of others. She now stands while one of her former servants sits in a chair. Homer caught the awkward tension of these women whose years of forced bondage never fostered in them a sense of loyalty or affection for their former overseer.

-Throughout the 1870s he painted mostly rural or idyllic scenes of farm life, children playing, and young adults courting.

-The same straightforward sensibility which allowed Homer to distill art from these potentially sentimental subjects also yielded the most unaffected views of African American life at the time.

-In 1873 Homer started painting with watercolors. His impact on the medium would be revolutionary. Homer's watercolor paintings exhibit a fresh, spontaneous, loose, yet natural style. Thereafter, he seldom traveled without paper, brushes and water based paints.