This summer the Portland Museum of Art
will present Winslow Homer and the Poetics of Place, on view June 5 through September 6, 2010. In honor of the centennial of Homers death in September, this exhibition will showcase 20 works from the Museums collection of Homer watercolors and oils on canvas. Based upon the extraordinary gift of 17 works by Charles Shipman Payson to the Museum in 1976, the exhibition will feature paintings understood to be national treasures, such as Artists Sketching in the White Mountains (1868) and Weatherbeaten (1894) as well as The Sharpshooter (1862), Homers first oil painting and the gift of Bernard and Barbro Osher. This will be the first time since 1988 that all of these works will be on view together in the Charles Shipman Payson Building, due to their sensitivity to light.
The relationship between Winslow Homer (1836-1910) and the Portland Museum of Art is long-standing and intimate. Homer exhibited at the Museum in his lifetime, and in the course of the 20th century, the Museum has become a symbolic home for the artist with the recent purchase of his studio. Long understood to be one of the most important painters in the history of American art, Winslow Homer lived in an age when the United States grew from a young country of small towns to modern industrial nation. Throughout his career as a graphic artist, genre painter, and chronicler of the rugged Maine coast, Homer provided his clients with images that helped create a sense of place in this era of rapid change and growth.
In 2006, the Museum purchased the Winslow Homer Studio at Prouts Neck, Maine, 12 miles from the Museum, and is currently involved in a major conservation and restoration project at that storied site. The Museum plans to open the Studio to the public in September of 2012.
Winslow Homer and the Poetics of Place will also be the debut of a ground-breaking on-line resource for the study of Winslow Homer organized by the Museum and funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Maine Humanities Council.
This website will provide searchable and zoomable access to 250 images, selected from the Harold and Peggy Osher Collection of Homers graphic art. A computer station will be also be available in the exhibition to allow visitors to view these works.
Winslow Homer and the Poetics of Place is organized by Chief Curator Thomas Denenberg.