In celebration of the opening last weekend of the exhibition Winslow Homer and the Poetics of Place, the Museum debuted a website of highlights from its Winslow Homer illustrations collection. This groundbreaking online gallery lets viewers access more than 250 of Homer’s wood engravings, and many that have never been seen by the public. With each illustration, visitors are able to zoom in on the work and look at the amazing details.
Twenty works have “pop-up” hot spots embedded in the image, providing viewers with interesting information to enhance their experience of the work. An additional 10 works were photographed with their related magazine page, so viewers are able to zoom in on articles that accompany the illustrations.
The engravings are part of a remarkable gift of more than 450 Homer wood engravings given to the Museum by Peggy and Harold Osher in 1991, a nearly comprehensive collection of Homer’s graphic work. Due to the fragile nature of the graphics, the Museum has only been able to display two or three at a time.
Most of the works are from popular news magazines such as Harper’s Weekly and provide a unique glance into the cultural history of mid-19th-century America. Spend some time browsing the illustrations and learn more about daily life in the mid-1800s and Winslow Homer’s work.
This project is made possible by the National Endowment for the Arts, with additional support from the Maine Humanities Council, the Margaret E. Burnham Charitable Trust, the Simmons Foundation, and the Wing-Benjamin Trust.
(Image credit line: Winslow Homer (United States, 1836–1910), Fire-works on the Night of the Fourth of July from Harper’s Weekly, July 11, 1868, wood engraving on wove paper, 9 1/8 x 13 13/16 inches. Portland Museum of Art. Gift of Peggy and Harold Osher, 1991.25.34.)