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Homer at the Beach, a Winslow Homer exhibition, at Cape Ann Museum
Winslow Homer (1836-1910), Children on the Beach (aka Watching the Tide Go Out and Watching the Boats), 1873. Oil on canvas (12 5/8“ x 16 ½”). Private collection, photograph courtesy of Sotheby's, Inc. © 2019.


GLOUCESTER, MASS.- This summer, the Cape Ann Museum will exhibit 51 original works by renowned American artist Winslow Homer. The exhibition, Homer at the Beach: A Marine Painter’s Journey, 1869-1880, will be the first close examination of the formation of this great artist as a marine painter. The exhibition will include loans from more than 50 public and private collections and will be on view from August 3 to December 1, 2019. The Cape Ann Museum will be its sole venue.

In 1869, Winslow Homer (1836–1910) exhibited his first picture of the sea. He was an ambitious New York illustrator—not yet recognized as an artist—and freshly back from France. Over the next 11 years, Homer’s journey would take him to a variety of marine destinations, from New Jersey to Maine, but especially—and repeatedly—to Gloucester and other parts of Cape Ann.

It was on Cape Ann that Homer made his first watercolors and where he first developed an identity as a marine artist. And it was in Gloucester in 1880, at the end of these 11 years, where he enjoyed the most productive season of his life, composing more than 100 watercolors of astonishing beauty. Homer’s journey forever changed his life and the art of America.

This exhibition will include a remarkable variety of works by Homer and a broad range of period objects to reveal new aspects of the artist’s oeuvre, for the first time placing these paintings, drawings and even ceramic work in their rich geographic, cultural and historical settings, on the 150th anniversary of Homer’s first paintings of the sea. Period clothing, ship models, and historic photographs and prints will add context to the work. The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue with 150 full color images and essays by prominent scholar John Wilmerding and by William R. Cross, curator of the exhibition.

As a companion to Homer at the Beach, the Cape Ann Museum will also display an exhibition by nationally renowned photographer Steve Rosenthal. Rosenthal has spent the last year walking in Winslow Homer’s footsteps, exploring the sites that inspired Homer and capturing them through the lens of his camera. Rosenthal’s exhibition will allow visitors to explore changes in the local landscape over the past 150 years and how it has stayed the same. Rosenthal will present a gallery talk on Saturday, October 19 at 9:30 a.m. A full schedule of related programming for Homer at the Beach appears below and will include a lecture series beginning on August 17 and a scholarly symposium to be held during the weekend of October 5, 2019. Companion walking tours and sailing experiences are also planned to add to the understanding of Homer’s work.

Homer at the Beach is curated by William R. Cross, a consultant to art and history museums and Chairman of the Advisory Board of the Yale Center for Faith and Culture. He has many years of leadership experience serving clients and managing teams in the investment management industry and serving museums and other non-profits. He has authored more than 200 articles and lectures, generally related to art, architecture and local history, and has a special passion for placing art in context, unveiling beauty and narrative meaning embedded – and often hidden – in objects. A graduate of Yale (B.A.) and Harvard (M.B.A.), Cross lives in Manchester, Mass.

Homer at the Beach: A Marine Painter’s Journey, 1869-1880 at the Cape Ann Museum will run concurrently with Winslow Homer: Eyewitness at the Harvard University Art Museums, a complementary exhibition opening August 31st.





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