The Herring Net

Painting of two fishermen in small wooden boat on rocky seas
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • Painting of two fishermen in small wooden boat on rocky seas

Date:

1885

Artist:

Winslow Homer
American, 1836–1910

About this artwork

In 1883 Winslow Homer moved to the small coastal village of Prouts Neck, Maine, where he created a series of paintings of the sea unparalleled in American art. Long inspired by the subject, Homer had spent summers visiting New England fishing villages during the 1870s, and in 1881–82 he made a trip to a fishing community in Cullercoats, England, that fundamentally changed his work and his life. The paintings he created after 1882 focus almost exclusively on humankind’s age-old contest with nature. Here Homer depicted the heroic efforts of fishermen at their daily work, hauling in an abundant catch of herring. In a small dory, two figures loom large against the mist on the horizon, through which the sails of the mother schooners are dimly visible. While one fisherman hauls in the netted and glistening herring, the other unloads the catch. Utilizing the teamwork so necessary for survival, both strive to steady the precarious boat as it rides the incoming swells. Homer’s isolation of these two figures underscores the monumentality of their task: the elemental struggle against a sea that both nurtures and deprives.

On View

American Art, Gallery 171

Artist

Winslow Homer

Title

The Herring Net

Origin

New England

Date

1885

Medium

Oil on canvas

Inscriptions

Signed, lower right: "Homer 85"

Dimensions

76.5 × 122.9 cm (30 1/8 × 48 3/8 in.)

Credit Line

Mr. and Mrs. Martin A. Ryerson Collection

Reference Number

1937.1039

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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