Winslow Homer (United States, b.1836, d.1910)
Down the Cliff, 1883
watercolor and graphite on paper, 13 3/4" x 20"
William M. B. Berger Charitable Trust, 2.2012.3
Source: Portland Museum of Art
This exhibition examines, for the first time, the artistic relationship between the painter Winslow Homer, his close friend the architect John Calvin Stevens, and the early years of the Portland Society of Art, the precursor to the Portland Museum of Art. With architectural drawings and a range of paintings and watercolors by Winslow Homer and his Maine contemporaries, this installation of 50 works (that will change during the run of the exhibition) provides a deeper understanding of Portland’s art world at the turn of the last century.
"The Portland Society of Art: Winslow Homer’s Legacy in Maine" includes southern Maine scenes by artists Charles Kimball and George Morse, Casco Bay seascapes by Harrison Bird Brown, and watercolors by Mary King Longfellow. These paintings are installed next to pictorialist photographs by William B. Post, Frank Laing, and other members of the Portland Camera Club. Together, they place Winslow Homer’s art in a regional context and they demonstrate how important his legacy was for the burgeoning community of artists in Portland during the early decades of the 20th-century.
Founded in 1882, just as the Homer family began to explore Prouts Neck for its potential development as a summer community, the Portland Society of Art sought to define a higher profile for the fine arts in this city. The Society organized small exhibitions of works by local artists, encouraged residents to display art works that they had acquired in their travels abroad, and promoted the new idea that photography was a fine art.