About This Artwork

Winslow Homer
American, 1836-1910

Two Boys Watching Schooners, 1880

Watercolor, with graphite, on moderately thick, rough-textured, ivory wove paper
227 x 340 mm
Signed recto, lower left, in graphite: "Homer/1880"; on prow of boat, in watercolor: "HOMER"

Inscribed verso, center, in graphite: "M.K.W.C. 1025//Marblehead"

Mr. and Mrs. Martin A. Ryerson Collection, 1933.1244

Created in 1880 during Homer's second visit to Gloucester, Massachusetts, Two Boys Watching Schooners shows two boys perched on an enormous rock, a vantage point from which they could keep an eye on the comings and goings of the fishing fleet. In this work, the artist juxtaposed the figures and shore (rendered in warm tones) with the cool blue tones of the harbor, sky and schooner. In this way, he emphasized the psychological isolation of those who waited on shore, hoping and watching for the safe return of those who made their living from the sea.

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. 48.

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. 9; 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, "The Second International Water Color Exhibition," April 15–May 21, 1922, p. 20, cat. 189.

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

The Art Institute of Chicago, "Watercolors by Winslow Homer, Martin Ryerson Collection," July–September, 1921, 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. 21.

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. 898.

The Art Institute of Chicago, "A Century of Progress," June 1–November 1, 1934, p. 69, cat. 478.

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

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Museum of Art, "Winslow Homer," May 2–June 8, 1936, cat. 56.

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. 22, cat. 51.

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.

New York, Wildenstein and Company, "Master Drawings from The Art Institute of Chicago," October 17–November 30, 1963, n.p., cat. 136.

Chicago, Ill., Terra Museum of American Art, "Winslow Homer in Gloucester," October 20–December 30, 1990, pp. 56 and 107, cat. 33, pl. 33.

The Art Institute of Chicago, "Watercolors by Winslow Homer: The Color of Light," February 16-May 11, 2008, pp. 68, 69 (ill.), 70, 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. 2388.

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

Gordon Hendricks, The Life and Work of Winslow Homer (New York, 1979), p. 285, fig. CL–108.

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




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