Stowing Sail

A work made of transparent watercolor, with touches of opaque watercolor, rewetting, blotting, scraping and graphite, on thick, moderately textured (twill texture on verso), ivory wove paper.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of transparent watercolor, with touches of opaque watercolor, rewetting, blotting, scraping and graphite, on thick, moderately textured (twill texture on verso), ivory wove paper.

Date:

1903

Artist:

Winslow Homer
American, 1836-1910

About this artwork

Homer created sparkling watercolor sketches of sailboats in Bahamian waters during his 1898-99 Bahamas trip. When he visited Key West, Florida, in the winter of 1903-04, he further indulged his interest in the details of local boating. There, Homer painted Stowing Sail on December 22, 1903. Everything about this watercolor points toward rapid, plein-air execution.
The artist’s graphite underdrawing is a quick and sketchy series of lines that establish the major contours on the sheet. Pentiments, or shifts, in the underdrawing show that when he began the sketch, the figure was leaning further forward, gathering the sail over the back of the boat. This adjustment suggests that Homer was working quickly to keep up with the man’s progress.
Homer applied all of his washes directly within the forms marked in the underdrawing, working wet-on-wet, as if there were not enough time to wait for one to dry before adding the next. When he brushed the heavy, red stroke at the front of the boat, it bled upward into the still-wet blue shadow on the side.

Currently Off View

Prints and Drawings

Artist

Winslow Homer

Title

Stowing Sail

Origin

United States

Date

1903

Medium

Transparent watercolor, with touches of opaque watercolor, rewetting, blotting, scraping and graphite, on thick, moderately textured (twill texture on verso), ivory wove paper

Inscriptions

Signed recto, lower left, in graphite: “Sketch from Nature”; in brown watercolor over graphite: “Dec 22 1903”; in brown watercolor over black watercolor over graphite: “HOMER” Inscribed verso, center, in graphite: "M.K.W.C. 1021-//Stowing Sail, Bahamas"; upper left, in graphite, “25811”; upper right, in graphite, “8”

Dimensions

355 x 554 mm

Credit Line

Mr. and Mrs. Martin A. Ryerson Collection

Reference Number

1933.1252

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email .

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