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The Watercolors of Winslow Homer Hardcover – October 17, 2001

4.7 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Though certainly more famous for his oil paintings, Winslow Homer was one of the first major artists to take watercolor seriously and to herald its acceptance in the 20th century as an art form in its own right, undertaken by stars like O'Keeffe, Prendergast and Hopper. Nearly 700 of his watercolors survive; 150-some are reproduced in The Watercolors of Winslow Homer by Miles Unger, a contributing New York Times critic. It's clear why these paintings, which seem like top-drawer book or magazine illustrations, hover in relative obscurity: the thin quality of the paint doesn't enrich Homer's rural and sea-faring subjects as does the texture he wrought from oil and canvas. But serious fans of turn-of-the-century American art will be delighted with this high-quality collection and Unger's learned text.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Winslow Homer is without a doubt one of America's best-known artists and a popular subject for study. The freshness, vitality, and magnitude of Homer's watercolor paintings set them apart from his other celebrated works in graphic art and oil painting, and Unger, former editor of Art New England and a contributor to the New York Times, reemphasizes the history and significance of these paintings. Unger's writing is both lively and informed. But any assessment of Homer's watercolors owes a great debt to the scholarship of Lloyd Goodrich (Winslow Homer, Whitney Museum of Art, 1944) and Helen Cooper (Winslow Homer Watercolors, National Gallery of Art, 1986), and this work is no exception. The real strength of this book lies in the illustrations. Unger includes 140 of the nearly 700 Homer watercolors, including many lesser-known works representing the Gloucester coast, Prout's Neck, the Adirondacks, and the Bahamas. While Cooper's remains the definitive survey of Homer's watercolors, Unger has added an intelligent examination that beautifully illuminates some of the more obscure of the artist's works. Recommended especially for public libraries. Kraig Binkowski, Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; First Edition edition (October 17, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393020479
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393020472
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 0.9 x 12.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #133,556 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
My first impression of this book was WOW!!! The size of the reproductions is astounding. Many extend over both large pages of the text. The binding is such that the book lies flat on the table and so the seam in the middle is negligble. THe colour of the reproductions is rich, detailed, and rings true (altho I have not seen any of Homer's work in real-life). Compared side-by-side with Cooper's book, Cooper's reproductions are much smaller and the colour appears weaker and washed out.
As for the text of the book, it is interesting, informative, and insightful. Altogether, this is a very well put together book; it is one of the finest books I have in my collection.
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Format: Hardcover
To: Amazon.com
The hundreds of paintings reproduced in this large-format book deserve five stars. The publisher should be thanked for bringing together works scattered around a large number of museums, and for giving us a finely produced art book. Even fans of Winslow Homer will not have seen most of these paintings, which may represent the summit of American watercolors. Unfortunately, the accompanying text goes far beyond what is necessary to appreciate Homer's art. The descriptions of personal history and technique are helpful, but not the philosophical musings and overwrought interpretations. The text should have been cut by a third.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a very young child I would spent many hours looking through my grandmother's art library.Winslow Homer and the French impressionists were my favorites and that early experience is probably one of many reasons I became an artist. I bought this book as a gift for my sister who is also an artist. I was able to read most of it before I gave it to her but intend to get a copy for myself. I especially liked the way the book follows Mr. Homer's growth as an artist. It's well written and the collection of his work is incredible. There are so many paintings I have never seen and some I have only seen in black and white.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am delighted with this book. Although there is extensive text, it is foremost a picture book of Homer's watercolors. Beyond the fine illustrated introduction, every spread of pages contains at least one of his pictures. Many of the pictures are full page in this generously dimensioned book, and those that cross the gutter show the care in placement exercised by the author and designer in minimizing any loss of impact. Enormous care was taken that no picture detail was lost in such two page printings. The ten chapters parallel Homer's life, and there is a sense of picking up of the easel, canvas, and paint box along with him as he moves to his considerably different venues. I enjoyed this book so much that I was inspired to hunt down my ancient watercolor equipment and try a few imitations!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Hard to imagine a more inspiring watercolorist, historically or right now. Homer had a sure touch with his wonderful, calligraphic brushstrokes. He depicted life around him and makes it feel as real as the view out my own window--I'm there.

The book is beautifully produced, with many crisp illustrations to pore over. Even after well over 100 years, we still can learn contemporary techniques from this man.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I only gave 3 stars because I am comparing this book to my extensive collection of other watercolor books (including some on Homer). I was excited to see some new watercolors featured here that are not seen in other books. The tropical paintings are lovely. There are lots of paintings shown, however, some are quite dull and even though Homer was a great painter, do we need to see these sepia studies and rough, gestural figures full-page?. Design-wise there are poor choices made. The text is too long, and the artwork often spans the 'gutter' in awkward places. The reproductions are not as good as ones I see in my other books. The book is printed in China and has a slightly funny smell. I like to see the size and location of the artwork right next to it, but in this book you have to look in the back for that information. The extensive text seems to be all all the same old stuff... where he was, studied, etc. For example, in the description of his materials, details such as the color of his paints and types of brushes are not mentioned, but there is loads of text about washes and paint application and how art critics of that time and other painters felt about watercolor. As an artist, this is less interesting to me. I like to browse through art books for artistic inspiration -- for myself and my students. I think this book would be excellent for someone who did not have books on Homer's art already. I'm thinking of returning this.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
i love the book. It has many good prints. It's great for watercolorists to see how the master did it.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book is full with Winslow Homer's master pieces. Most painting images are big and clear, so you can see his strong brush strokes easily. The only minor flaw is the colors of the reproduction tend to be on bit of "dull" side - not as rich and sharp as to the real paintings.
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