Art: “There is a different Winslow Homer for every age”

Posted By on July 6, 2022

Winslow Homer’s 1899 painting “The Gulf Stream(“reworked in 1906’) is a much-celebrated work of art for a variety of reasons, but appeals to me due to the ocean scene and dismasted sailboat, as do his other Atlantic scene paintings. WinslowHomer1880HeadThis one has seen renewed interest likely because of our current “turbulent times” … politically. Although to me, violently protesting over oppression today, compared to our American ancestors living pre-Civil War (some in slavery) or after the war during Reconstruction, seems petty. The late 1800s were the times in which the artist lived and likely formed his views as he painted his scenes. Those times of oppression were strikingly different than the mostly self-imposed woes of those who destroy property and riot today in the name of inequality … or the less quantitative term, inequity (see Grammarist).

According to CSMonitor, the painting is currently on display in a larger exhibition titled “Winslow Homer: Crosscurrents” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.


American painter Winslow Homer lived through turbulent times. He began his career in the 1860s as an illustrator and correspondent for Harper’s Weekly, as the United States was descending into the Civil War. During Reconstruction, when the nation tried (and in many ways failed) to find a path forward, he traveled through the South witnessing the aftermath of slavery.

Although Homer left scant record of his convictions about race, his paintings of Black people show his insistence on investing those images with the same realism that he displayed in capturing white subjects. For him, it was a matter of truth-telling.

Link: CSMonitor


Desultory - des-uhl-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee

  1. lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful: desultory conversation.
  2. digressing from or unconnected with the main subject; random: a desultory remark.