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Winslow Homer Hardcover – September 27, 1995

4.5 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Instead of Winslow Homer as unvarnished, naive democrat, an artist divorced from the intellectual life of his times, Cikovsky gives us a painter who was a modernist in his detachment, anxiety and impersonality. Plunging into New York City's seething cultural milieu in the 1860s, the Boston-born illustrator joined a loose artistic circle that included jounalist Eugene Benson, whose programmatic call for a modern, national, indigenous art struck a chord in Homer. But disillusionment set in with the corrupt Gilded Age of the 1870s, and Homer took refuge in art, plumbing nature's elemental power in his seascapes, and investigating the act of seeing in vibrant, spontaneous watercolors of the tropics or the Maine coast. His later paintings grasp death with almost mystical immediacy. Curator of American art at the National Gallery, Cikovsky lays bare new worlds of meaning in this immensely rewarding, superbly illustrated reassessment.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

The 19th-century realist Winslow Homer first gained wide renown with his Civil War battlefield illustrations in Harper's Weekly. A year spent in Paris after the war led to a greater acuity of vision, and by the mid-1870s he was one of the leading progenitors of naturalism and the most celebrated American painter of his day. Known for his watercolors, which have all the intensity and ardor of the most accomplished oil paintings, the solid outlines and luminosity of his surfaces show little influence from his contemporaries the Impressionists. His art was unquestionably individual and native. He was a reclusive outdoorsman who captured dozens of scenes highlighting the milieus he loved: seafaring vessels, Adirondack and Canadian hunting grounds, Bahamian beaches, and the rocky coast of Maine, to which he retreated in his last years. This outstanding new book is the catalog of a retrospective of 235 paintings touring East Coast museums?the largest gathering of his work ever. Cikovsky and Kelly (curators of American and British art at the National Gallery of Art) divide his career into eight chronological chapters, each with a straightforward, expository essay securely planting the work in a geographical and biographical context. The format is large but unostentatious, striking the perfect balance between text and illustration. This is easily the fairest, most intelligent, and best survey to date on this popular American master.?Douglas F. Smith, Oakland P.L., Cal.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 420 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press; First edition (September 27, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300065558
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300065558
  • Product Dimensions: 12.2 x 10.7 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,268,787 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Too often museums and writers take the prodigious output of the 19th century American artist Winslow Homer lightly, even at times dismissing him as inconsequential in the mainstream of important art. This magnificent volume whould change that once and for all.

Essayists and curators Nicolai Cikovsky and Franklin Kelly, with significant contributions by writers Judith Walsh and Charles Brock, have not only created a superb collection of Homer's works in all media, they have also taken the time to reevaluate Homer in terms of his place among his colleagues of his day, his subsequent isolationism when he communicated with nature along the coast of Maine, creating come of the most mystically beautiful works form an American artist, and an overview of how history has treated him.

The result is a hefty volume with more valuable insights and well written essays that for once truly illuminate the images generously placed throughout the volume. This may have started out to be a catalogue to accompany a traveling exhibition, but its long shelf life is assured by the high quality of every aspect of the book. Highly recommended for art lovers and art historians alike. Grady Harp, January 06
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Format: Paperback
As an Art student, venturing into watercolor recently, I received this book as a gift. I truly gained much information about the artist and the additon of color plates (90+) make this a complete reference guide. The author has separatedhis works into catogories by subject matter.The intro- duction reviews his travels, family life,interests,educa-tion,recognition and awardsduring his lifetime. A brief review proceeds each Chapterwhich then is visually supp-orted by wonderflul,colorful plates of Winslow works of that subject. The Chapters are Civil War, Sea PaintingsTropics, Adirondonck and Canada, and Prout's Neck,Me. He was an extraordinarypainter of various mediums,and always captured the 'atmosphere' in his workswhether it was stormy seasoff the coast of Maine, placid lakes in the mountains, clear skies in the tropics or children at play at that time. Fortunately, he was an artist who was noticed during his lifetime and rewarded with fame before his demise at age 74, having enjoyed his love of his work. I would highly recommend this hard cover version, to any art lover or student of the arts. I will plan to purchase this publication for my son, and perhaps a friend in the near future.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There seems to be a confusion with regard to this book listing and the reviews that accompany it. I am writing about the book with 156 pages, including Index, written solely by Cikovsky, Jr. and published by Harry N. Abrams in association with The National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
It is a fine introduction for lay readers to the work and life of Homer. Deliberately set forth as a non-academic approach, it has no scholarly impedimenta but is written in a clear, informative style, with plenty of illustrations of his works.
Cikovsky is just the writer the book needed: a scholar with a light touch and heavyweight knowledge. Everything one needs to know is in it, speculation is given short shrift, save where it can rest on solid evidence and with the warning that it is a stab in the dark about a man who made a point to protect his privacy and private thoughts. What we get is a story long on facts and analysis of his works and scant about the man known mostly his work. For a good portion of his life, Homer lived alone and spoke little about what he did, thought or meant. Cikovsky is careful to warn us when he is exploring the unknown with regard to the man, his life and his pictures.
Winslow Homer was a premier American artist of the last half of the 19th Century, an artist who sought to capture American experience in a manner that communicated without mystification yet penetrated to the core of what we were about. Unlike many who followed him, he sought out the mysteries of the sea and the land as men and women interacted with it, the old America which was losing its centrality as the core of the national system. It is a tradition which still is potent although not dominant. It is something we can still be impacted by.
The book is a sound guide to understanding and should stimulate further study in books and collections.
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Format: Paperback
As an Art student, venturing into watercolor recently, I received this book as a gift. I truly gained much information about the artist and the additon of color plates (90+) make this a complete reference guide. The author has separatedhis works into catogories by subject matter.The intro- duction reviews his travels, family life,interests,educa-tion,recognition and awardsduring his lifetime. A brief review proceeds each Chapterwhich then is visually supp-orted by wonderflul,colorful plates of Winslow works of that subject. The Chapters are Civil War, Sea PaintingsTropics, Adirondonck and Canada, and Prout's Neck,Me. He was an extraordinarypainter of various mediums,and always captured the 'atmosphere' in his workswhether it was stormy seasoff the coast of Maine, placid lakes in the mountains, clear skies in the tropics or children at play at that time. Fortunately, he was an artist who was noticed during his lifetime and rewarded with fame before his demise at age 74, having enjoyed his love of his work. I would highly recommend this hard cover version, to any art lover or student of the arts. I will plan to purchase this publication for my son, and perhaps a friend in the near future.
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