Winslow Homer


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Force of Nature

Christopher Riopelle, Christine Riding, and Chiara Di Stefano

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An accessible introduction to American painter Winslow Homer, examining his work through the lens of conflict

A fresh exploration of the work of iconic American painter Winslow Homer (1836–1910) through the lens of conflict, a recurring theme in his prolific career. A persistent fascination with struggle permeates Homer’s art⁠—from emblematic images of the Civil War and Reconstruction to dazzling tropical works and monumental marines⁠—and reveals his lifelong engagement with the charged subjects of race, nature, and the environment.
This publication illuminates Homer’s preoccupation with the complex social and political issues of his era—war, slavery, imperialism—as well as his broader concerns with the fragility of human life and dominance of nature. These powerful themes are present in his earliest Civil War and Reconstruction paintings, which explore the effect of the conflict on the landscape, soldiers, and the formerly enslaved. They continue through his later images of rural life, dramatic rescues, and hunting⁠—paintings that grapple with the often uneasy relationship between humans and the natural world. Toward the end of his life, human figures were reduced to tiny, irrelevant presences, while the ocean acquired a pivotal role.

This richly illustrated volume will be published to accompany a retrospective at the National Gallery, organized in collaboration with the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Published by National Gallery Global/Distributed by Yale University Press

Exhibition Schedule:

The National Gallery, London
September 10, 2022–January 8, 2023

Christopher Riopelle is the Neil Westreich Curator of Post-1800 Paintings at the National Gallery, London.
Christine Riding is the Jacob Rothschild Head of the Curatorial Department and Curator of British Paintings at the National Gallery, London.
Chiara Di Stefano is the Harry M. Weinrebe Curatorial Fellow at the National Gallery, London.


The National Gallery, London
September 10, 2022–January 8, 2023

ISBN: 9781857096873
Publication Date: November 29, 2022
Publishing Partner: Published by National Gallery Global/Distributed by Yale University Press
128 pages, 9 1/2 x 10 1/4
85 color illus.
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