About This Artwork

Winslow Homer
American, 1836-1910

Adirondacks Guide, 1892

Transparent watercolor with touches of opaque watercolor, rewetting, blotting and scraping, over traces of graphite, on thick, moderately textured, ivory wove paper (top edge trimmed)
329 x 545 mm
Signed recto, lower right corner, in graphite ("W") and black watercolor ("H. '92"): "W.H. '92"
Inscribed verso, upper center, in graphite: "11"; center, in graphite: "M.K.W.C. 1016-//Adirondack Guide"

Mr. and Mrs. Martin A. Ryerson Collection, 1933.1234

Adirondacks Guide is a sensitive portrait of the guide Rufus Wallace, shown returning from duck hunting in his canoe. Although the background of lake and sky are only loosely suggested, the details of the old man’s face, beard, and still-strong body are carefully rendered with brushstrokes of diluted color. His gaze, forward and slightly elevated, is evocative; one senses that the old man is at once alert to nature and lost in his own contemplations.

Exhibition, Publication and Ownership Histories

Exhibition History

New York, The Museum of the Brooklyn Institute, "Water Colors by Winslow Homer," October 16–November 7, 1915, p. 9, cat. 39.

The Art Institute of Chicago, "Twenty Water Colors by Winslow Homer, Martin Ryerson Collection," January 5–June 16, 1916, no cat.

The Art Institute of Chicago, "Watercolors by Winslow Homer Lent by Martin A. Ryerson," October 1–26, 1920, no cat.

Muskegon, Mich., Hackley Art Gallery, "Watercolors and Drawings by Winslow Homer, Lent by Martin Ryerson," May 9–June 20, 1921, no cat.

The Art Institute of Chicago, "Watercolors by Winslow Homer, Martin Ryerson Collection," July–September, 1921, no cat.

The Art Institute of Chicago, "The Second International Water Color Exhibition," April 15–May 21, 1922, p. 20, cat. 203.

Omaha, Neb., Omaha Society of Fine Arts, December 26, 1924–February 3, 1925, no cat.

The Art Institute of Chicago, "Watercolors by Winslow Homer from the Collection of Martin A. Ryerson," April 1926, no cat.

The Art Institute of Chicago, "Watercolors by Winslow Homer from the Collection of Martin A. Ryerson," July–Fall, 1926, no cat.

The Buffalo Fine Art Academy, Albright Art Gallery, "An Important Group of Paintings in Oil and Water Color by Winslow Homer: Loaned by The Art Institute of Chicago," December 15, 1929–January 6, 1930, cat. 17.

City Art Museum of St. Louis, "Water Colors by Winslow Homer Lent by the Art Institute of Chicago," December 15, 1932–January 15, 1933, no cat.

The Art Institute of Chicago, "A Century of Progress," June 1–November 1, 1933, p. 92, cat. 890.

The Art Institute of Chicago, "A Century of Progress," June 1–November 1, 1934, p. 68, cat. 465.

New York, Knoedler and Company, "Winslow Homer: Artist," January 20–February 8, 1936, cat. 13.

The Art Institute of Chicago, "Homer Centenary," July 16–August 16, 1936, no cat.

Indianapolis, Ind., John Herron Art Institute, "Watercolors by Winslow Homer Lent by the Art Institute of Chicago," November 1–December 15, 1936, no cat.

Pittsburgh, Pa., Carnegie Institute, "Centenary Exhibition of Works by Winslow Homer," January 28–March 7, 1937, p. 24, cat. 69.

The Art Institute of Chicago, "Twenty-Two Watercolors by Winslow Homer," April 13–May 14, 1944 (Gallery G59), no cat.

The Art Institute of Chicago, "Water Colors and Drawings by Winslow Homer," October 14–December 4, 1944 (Gallery 13), no cat.

New York, Whitney Museum of American Art, "Winslow Homer," April 3–June 3, 1973, p. 139, cat. 123 (ill.), cat. by Lloyd Goodrich; also traveled to the Los Angeles County Museum, July 3–August 15, 1973; and The Art Institute of Chicago, September 8–October 21, 1973.

The Art Institute of Chicago, "Watercolors by Winslow Homer: The Color of Light," February 16-May 11, 2008, pp. 158, 160, 161 (ill.), 212, cat. by Martha Tedeschi and Kristi Dahm.

Publication History

“Knoedler Firm Buys 21 Winslow Homers,” New York Herald (November 19, 1915).

“Notes,” Bulletin of The Art Institute of Chicago 10: 2 (February 1916), p. 143.

The Art Institute of Chicago, A Guide to the Paintings in the Permanent Collection (Chicago, 1925), p. 164, no. 2378.

Theodore Bolton, “Water Colors by Homer: Critique and Catalogue,” The Fine Arts 18: 5 (April 1932), p. 52.

Archiv für buchgewerbe un gebrauchagraphik 5, 77 (1940), following p. 138 (ill.).

Ashton Sanborn, “Winslow Homer’s Adirondack Guide,” Bulletin of the Museum of Fine Arts 46: 264 (June 1948), pp. 49–51, fig. 3.

Gordon Hendricks, The Life and Work of Winslow Homer (New York, 1979), p. 284, fig. CL–93.

David Tatham, Winslow Homer in the Adirondacks (Syracuse, 1996), p. 141.

Robert M. Poole, “Hidden Depths,” Smithsonian Magazine 39: 2 (May 2008), p. 90 (ill.).

Ownership History

The artist to his brother, Charles S. Homer, Jr. (1834–1917), New York, by 1910 [according to correspondence from Abigail Booth Gerdts to the Art Institute, February 10, 2007]. Charles W. Gould (1849–1931), New York, by 1915 [Brooklyn exh. cat. 1915]. Sold by Knoedler and Company, New York [stamp (not in Lugt), verso, in purple ink: M.K. & Co. W.C. No….], to Martin A. Ryerson (1856–1932), Chicago, November 11, 1915 [invoice]; given to the Art Institute, 1933.




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