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
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.