Winslow Homer: Eyewitness

, University Research Gallery, Harvard Art Museums
  • The Brush Harrow
  • Elmer Ephraim Ellsworth (1837-1861)
  • War for the Union 1862 - A Cavalry Charge
  • Winter-Quarters in Camp - Inside of a Hut
  • A Bivouac Fire on the Potomac
  • Sailboat and Fourth of July Fireworks
  • Teamster
  • A Deserter
  • Fording
  • Hard Tack
  • Building Castles
  • Compromise with the South
  • Rebels Outside Their Works at Yorktown Reconnoitring with Dark Lanterns - Sketched by Mr. Winslow Homer
  • Thanksgiving in Camp
  • Pitching Quoits
  • Schooner at Sunset
  • Canoe in Rapids
  • Adirondack Lake (Blue Monday)
  • Watching the Tempest
  • The Army of the Potomac - A Sharp-Shooter on Picket Duty - [From a Painting by W. Homer, Esq.]
  • Tossing in a Blanket
  • The Shell is Coming
  • Surgeon at Work at the Rear during an Engagement
  • The Songs of the War
  • Execution of the Conspirators, No. 4
  • Gloucester Harbor and Dory
  • Hunter in the Adirondacks
  • A Harvest of Death
  • Our Special
  • Drummer
  • Prisoners from the Front
  • News from the War [Drawn by our special artist, Mr. Winslow Homer]
  • Riding on a Rail
  • Stuck in the Mud
  • An Unwelcome Visit
  • The Approach of the British Pirate
  • Holiday in Camp - Soldiers Playing
  • The Lookout
  • The Girl He Left Behind Him
  • The Rifle Pit
  • Upset His Coffee
  • Our Watering-Places - The Empty Sleeve at Newport
  • Under the Coco Palm
  • Sea Garden, Bahamas
  • Mink Pond
  • Our Zouaves
  • Harper's Weekly, vol. X, no. 478
  • Home on a Furlough
  • Good Bye
  • In the Trenches
  • Extra Ration
  • The Field Barber
  • Late for Roll Call
  • The Guard House
  • Water Call
  • Surgeon's Call
University Research Gallery, Harvard Art Museums

Discover how celebrated American artist Winslow Homer’s work for the illustrated periodical Harper’s Weekly helped shape his later career as a painter and watercolorist.

During the Civil War (1861–1865), American artist Winslow Homer (1836–1910) served as a correspondent for Harper’s. His sketches of soldiers, both in battle on the front lines and in quieter moments back at camp, were reproduced to accompany the journal’s accounts of the conflict. Homer worked for Harper’s just as new technologies were making it possible to rapidly reproduce newsworthy images on a large scale. Working together with Harper’s editors and engravers, he employed a range of pictorial strategies to reassure skeptical readers that his illustrations were not fabrications, but eyewitness observations “drawn on the spot.”

While in the field as an artist-correspondent, Homer developed habits of seeing and pictorial strategies that informed his work in other media. In addition to tracing these connections, this show explores broader questions that Homer’s art raises about the responsibility of artists who work in periods riven by war and conflict.

Co-curated by Ethan W. Lasser, Theodore E. Stebbins Jr. Curator of American Art and Head of the Division of European and American Art; and Makeda Best, Richard L. Menschel Curator of Photography, Harvard Art Museums.

Support for this exhibition was provided by the Bolton Fund for American Art, Gift of the Payne Fund; and the Henry Luce Foundation Fund for the American Art Department. Exhibition-related programming is made possible by the M. Victor Leventritt Lecture Series Endowment Fund.

Related Exhibition
Homer at the Beach: A Marine Painter’s Journey, 1869-1880 is on view at the Cape Ann Museum August 3–December 1, 2019.