About This Artwork

Winslow Homer
American, 1836-1910

Boy in Boat, Gloucester, 1880/81

Transparent watercolor, with touches of opaque watercolor and scraping, over graphite, on moderately thick, rough-textured, ivory wove paper
232 x 349 mm
Signed recto, lower right, in graphite: "W.H. sketch"
Inscribed verso, lower center, in graphite: "M.K.W.C. 1023-//Man in Boat, Coast of Maine"; upper center, in graphite: "24"; top, in black crayon crossed out in graphite: "No 18 vol-A"

Mr. and Mrs. Martin A. Ryerson Collection, 1933.1243

Homer began Boy in Boat, Gloucester while staying at the lighthouse on Ten Pound Island in the harbor of the fishing town Gloucester, Massachusetts. During his time in Gloucester, the artist frequently depicted local boys playing on boats, fishing, and waiting for their fathers to return from the sea. In this watercolor he began experimenting with scraping, revealing the white of the paper to create highlights in the large rock at right. Furthermore, he was developing his skill in transparent watercolor, which he used to great effect for the reflective surface of the water.

Exhibition, Publication and Ownership Histories

Exhibition History

Boston, Doll & Richards [sale number 348], December 8–24, 1880, no cat.

New York, The Museum of the Brooklyn Institute, "Water Colors by Winslow Homer," October 16–November 7, 1915, p. 9, cat. 46.

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. 195.

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. 22.

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. 897.

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.

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, Century Association, "Paintings by Thomas Eakins, 1844–1916, and Watercolors by Winslow Homer, 1836–1910," January 10–February 25, 1951, no cat.

Chicago, Ill., Terra Museum of American Art, "Winslow Homer in Gloucester," October 20–December 30, 1990, p. 56, cat. 28, pl. 34.

The Art Institute of Chicago, "Watercolors by Winslow Homer: The Color of Light," February 16-May 11, 2008, pp. 64, 65 (ill.), 70, 207, 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. 2387.

Theodore Bolton, “Water Colors by Homer: Critique and Catalogue,” The Fine Arts 18: 5 (April 1932), p. 54.

Forbes Watson, Winslow Homer (New York, 1942), p. 109 (ill.).

Gordon Hendricks, The Life and Work of Winslow Homer (New York, 1979), pp. 141, 144, and 284, fig. CL–107.

Robert J. Demarest, Traveling with Winslow Homer: America’s Premier Artist/Angler (New York, 2002), p. 71, fig. 34.

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, Martin A. Ryerson (1856–1932), Chicago, November 11, 1915 [invoice]; given to the Art Institute, 1933.




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