Catalogue


Winslow Homer : the nature of observation /
Elizabeth B. Johns.
imprint
Berkeley, CA : University of California Press, c2002.
description
xxiv, 202 p. : ill. (some col.).
ISBN
0520227255 (alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Berkeley, CA : University of California Press, c2002.
isbn
0520227255 (alk. paper)
catalogue key
4733056
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Excerpts
Flap Copy
"Once again Elizabeth Johns has created a paradigm shift in our understanding of one of America's greatest painters. Peering behind the curtain that Homer drew over his private life, Johns offers a bracing, provocative, and sensitive reading of his works in light of his personal journey and his relations with his close-knit family. Her vast knowledge, profound insight, and breathtaking originality illuminate every page."--H. Barbara Weinberg, Alice Pratt Brown Curator of American Paintings and Sculpture, The Metropolitan Museum of Art "Johns's eloquent evocation of the spiritual dimension of Homer's great late paintings achieves her goal of reintroducing 'faith in the transcendent' [into] scholarly discourse."--Jules David Prown, author ofArt as Evidence: Writings on Art and Material Culture "Elizabeth Johns's biography of Homer revolutionizes our understanding of this well-known yet enigmatic artist. Arguing that "the themes [Homer] pursued come from his life," Johns uses Erik Erikson's theories of identity and life cycle to frame her investigation of Homer's personal choices--choices revealed in his correspondence with his family, his relationship with other artists, and the social expectations of his milieu. Through this sensitive and elegantly written book, we come to know, even identify with, Homer's developmental journey, and so appreciate more fully the magnificent achievement of his art."--Carol Troyen, John Moors Cabot Curator of American Paintings, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Flap Copy
"Once again Elizabeth Johns has created a paradigm shift in our understanding of one of America's greatest painters. Peering behind the curtain that Homer drew over his private life, Johns offers a bracing, provocative, and sensitive reading of his works in light of his personal journey and his relations with his close-knit family. Her vast knowledge, profound insight, and breathtaking originality illuminate every page."--H. Barbara Weinberg, Alice Pratt Brown Curator of American Paintings and Sculpture, The Metropolitan Museum of Art "Johns's eloquent evocation of the spiritual dimension of Homer's great late paintings achieves her goal of reintroducing 'faith in the transcendent' [into] scholarly discourse."--Jules David Prown, author of Art as Evidence: Writings on Art and Material Culture "Elizabeth Johns's biography of Homer revolutionizes our understanding of this well-known yet enigmatic artist. Arguing that "the themes [Homer] pursued come from his life," Johns uses Erik Erikson's theories of identity and life cycle to frame her investigation of Homer's personal choices--choices revealed in his correspondence with his family, his relationship with other artists, and the social expectations of his milieu. Through this sensitive and elegantly written book, we come to know, even identify with, Homer's developmental journey, and so appreciate more fully the magnificent achievement of his art."--Carol Troyen, John Moors Cabot Curator of American Paintings, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2003-04-01:
There has been no paucity of excellent monographs and exhibition catalogs, especially since the mid-1980s, on arguably America's greatest 19th-century artist, Winslow Homer (1836-1910), whether treating his entire oeuvre or concentrating on a particular place, medium, or period. Over the past several decades, both "old" and "new" art historical methodologies have been brought to bear on Homer and his oeuvre, with varying results. One of the most successful is Johns, with her comprehensive and insightful concentration on the intimate relationship between Homer's artistic production and his psychology as manifested in his life stages. Johns uses theories of Erik Erikson and Daniel Levinson to shed psychosocial light on Homer's development: Homer's early career is examined in terms of his family's values; the Civil War works in the context of his youthful manhood; his social scene works and the place of young women therein in terms of his potential for marriage; the scenes of fisherwomen and fishermen in terms of his inner vision in middle age; and his preoccupation with the sea in the late works in terms of his identification with universal elements and themes. Fine endnotes; much documentation, including Homer papers at Bowdoin College; 40 color and 77 black-and-white images; excellent index; alas, no bibliography. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty. J. Weidman Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
Appeared in Library Journal on 2002-12-01:
Esteemed author Johns (emerita, history of art, Univ. of Pennsylvania; Thomas Eakins: The Heroism of Modern Life) manages to separate this work from the pack of scholarship on quintessential American artist Winslow Homer (1836-1910) by analyzing his life and work from the perspective of developmental psychology. In doing so, she eloquently and caringly traces Homer's art across the psychoanalytical lines of a man evolving from young to middle to late adulthood. Using the developmental theories of Erik Erikson and Daniel Levinson and drawing heavily from Homer's correspondence and the critical responses to his work, Johns offers insight into aspects of Homer's life that informed his art. Johns's analysis cover Homer's illustrations as well as his oil and watercolor paintings but focuses on over 100 images that represent turning points in his life-images that reveal the development of Homer as a person. Though art historians may not agree with all of her interpretations, it is obvious that Johns has opened up new avenues for Homer scholarship. Recommended for academic and museum libraries.-Kraig A. Binkowski, Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Reviews
This item was reviewed in:
Library Journal, December 2002
Choice, April 2003
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
With close analysis of Homer's art and of the personal challenges he faced throughout his life, this text is a comprehensive study of the relationship between the artist's work and the psychological stages of his life.
Long Description
With close analysis of Homer's art and of the personal challenges he faced throughout his life, Winslow Homer: The Nature of Observation is the most comprehensive study to date of the relationship between the artist's work and the psychological stages of his life. Elizabeth Johns uses theories advanced by Erik Erikson and Daniel Levinson to look at Homer's evolution as a painter and a person within the context of the continuing dynamics of his family. Her incisive and absorbing readings of the artist's work take into account the developmental stages of young, middle, and late adulthood, analyzing what Homer painted at the various turning points in his life. With this psychosocial approach, Johns examines the wood-engraved illustrations of Homer's early career in relationship to the values of his family; his images of the Civil War in the context of his young manhood; his paintings of the social scene and young women's place in it in connection with his own potential for marriage; his images of fisherwomen at Cullercoats and fishermen at Prout's Neck as they relate to his interior vision during middle age; and his intrigue with the sea in his late works as an identification with the larger processes of the universe. With more than seventy-five black-and-white illustrations and forty color plates of arresting images by this American master, Winslow Homer takes into account all available documentation, including the rich trove of the artist's correspondence at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art, and his entire body of work--illustrations for wood engravings, watercolors, and oils.
Main Description
Elizabeth Johns looks closely at the life of Winslow Homer, one of America's greatest visual artists, and how his work as illustrator for Harper's Weekly, oil painter, and watercolorist reflect his emotional development.
Main Description
With close analysis of Homers art and of the personal challenges he faced throughout his life, "Winslow Homer: The Nature of Observation "is the most comprehensive study to date of the relationship between the artists work and the psychological stages of his life. Elizabeth Johns uses theories advanced by Erik Erikson and Daniel Levinson to look at Homers evolution as a painter and a person within the context of the continuing dynamics of his family. Her incisive and absorbing readings of the artists work take into account the developmental stages of young, middle, and late adulthood, analyzing what Homer painted at the various turning points in his life. With this psychosocial approach, Johns examines the wood-engraved illustrations of Homers early career in relationship to the values of his family; his images of the Civil War in the context of his young manhood; his paintings of the social scene and young womens place in it in connection with his own potential for marriage; his images of fisherwomen at Cullercoats and fishermen at Prouts Neck as they relate to his interior vision during middle age; and his intrigue with the sea in his late works as an identification with the larger processes of the universe. With more than seventy-five black-and-white illustrations and forty color plates of arresting images by this American master, "Winslow Homer "takes into account all available documentation, including the rich trove of the artists correspondence at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art, and his entire body of work--illustrations for wood engravings, watercolors, and oils.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations
Acknowledgments
Introduction: The Nature of Observation
The Artist as a Young Man
The Search for a Subject, the Search for a Career
The Nature of Midlife
"The Life That I Have Chosen"
Notes
Index
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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