Harvard’s Winslow Homer Watercolors

The immediacy of Winslow Homer’s awe-inspiring brush strokes tend to depict subjects engaged in dynamic activity around water.  I was grateful to recently study an unframed collection of his watercolors.  Without the distraction of reflective glass, his skills are most marvelous to behold.

Under the Coco Palm was my favorite image, a straight-forward illustration about the life of a palm tree. I was amused listening to Ethan Lasser, curator of American Art, speak about the meaning of the fish’s tail beside the boy.  Why?  Because the “tail” he was referencing is obviously a recently fallen palm frond.  The shape perfectly mimics the bright green swath of newly revealed frond stems above, which illustrates how palm trees grow.  What seems obvious to me has apparently stumped scholars for decades who have written commentary on the odd fishtail lying beside the young boy drinking from a coconut.  Even with a discarded frond in the forefront, experts have confused the narrative.  My observation will supposedly be footnoted for future scholarship.

Most of Winslow’s watercolours were painted during travels through the cooler regions of Prout’s Neck, ME; Gloucester, MA; NYC; the Adirondacks, NY; Cullercoats & Tynemouth, GB.

His ability to capture the movement & wetness of water dazzling!  Wouldn’t you agree?


I learned that Winslow’s masterful proclivities were encouraged by his mother, a watercolorist who actively exhibited botanical paintings.

Boston viewed from Gloucester in a July 4th celebration to remember always.

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