About This Artwork

Winslow Homer
American, 1836-1910

The Lone Boat, North Woods Club, Adirondacks, 1892

Watercolor, with rewetting, blotting, and scraping, over traces of graphite, on thick, rough-textured, ivory wove paper
385 x 544 mm
Signed recto, lower right, in pen and black ink: "Winslow Homer/1892"
Inscribed verso, center: "M.K.W.C. 1017-//Evening, Adirondacks"

Mr. and Mrs. Martin A. Ryerson Collection, 1933.1242

The Lone Boat, North Woods Club, Adirondacks speaks powerfully of the fisherman’s communion with nature. The medium of watercolor offered the perfect metaphor as well as technical means to express this relationship; its very wetness allows the forms of man and nature to run together, absorbed by the hazy atmosphere. In The Lone Boat, Homer constructed a nearly abstract composition along a strong horizon line, with the trees on the shore and their reflections in the water forming a symmetrical design. The effect is similar to that achieved when a still-wet sheet is folded at the center and blotted.

Homer painted the sky using multiple hues and a complex array of techniques, including resist, blotting, scraping, and wet-into-wet brushwork. The resulting textures and contrasts create a strong sense of movement, of clouds accumulating and dispersing while light shifts and changes across their forms.

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. 40.

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

Pittsburgh, Pa., Carnegie Institute, "Winslow Homer and John Singer Sargent: An Exhibition of Water Colors," November 1–27, 1917, cat. 14; also traveled to the Cleveland Museum of Art, November 30–December 31, 1917; the Toledo Museum of Art, January 1918; the Detroit Museum of Art, February 2–28, 1918; the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, March 1918; the Milwaukee Art Institute, April 1918; the City Art Museum of St. Louis, May 5–26, 1918; and the Memorial Art Gallery, University of Rochester, New York, June 6–July 7, 1918.

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. 200.

Paris, Hotel de la Chambre Syndicale de la Curiosité et des Beaux Arts, "Exposition d'Art Americain," May 18–June 25, 1923, p. 39, cat. 10.

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. 11.

Providence, Rhode Island School of Design, "Exhibition of Water Colors by Winslow Homer," February 6–March 1, 1931, no cat.

City Art Museum of St. Louis, "Water Colors by Winslow Homer," 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. 896.

The Art Institute of Chicago, "A Century of Progress," June 1–November 1, 1934, p. 69, cat. 477.

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, 25, cat. 81.

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.

The Art Institute of Chicago, "Watercolors by Winslow Homer: The Color of Light," February 16-May 11, 2008, pp. 145, 148, 149 (ill.), 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. 2386.

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

Gordon Hendricks, The Life and Work of Winslow Homer (New York, 1979), p. 285, fig. CL–106.

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

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

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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