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A Huntsman and Dogs

Winslow Homer, American, 1836 - 1910

Geography:
Made in United States, North and Central America

Date:
1891

Medium:
Oil on canvas

Dimensions:
28 1/8 x 48 inches (71.4 x 121.9 cm) Framed: 37 x 57 inches (94 x 144.8 cm)

Curatorial Department:
American Art

* Gallery 111, American Art, first floor

Accession Number:
E1924-3-8

Credit Line:
The William L. Elkins Collection, 1924

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Label:
Renowned artist Winslow Homer was an avid sportsman and his outdoor subjects reflect an unsentimental view of the conflict between man and nature. In this scene set in the Adirondack region of New York State, earthen colors link the hunter and the environment, making it difficult to distinguish the man from the hill behind him. Homer visited the Adirondacks as one of many vacationers who flocked there in the late nineteenth century. The huntsman in Homer’s painting is not a visitor but rather a local trapper or guide who has caught a deer and is carrying off its pelt, antlers, and, likely, a pack full of meat.

Additional information:
  • PublicationMasterpieces from the Philadelphia Museum of Art: Impressionism and Modern Art

    One of the most admired American painters of the late nineteenth century, Winslow Homer drew his subjects from the outdoors, and they reflect an unsentimental view of the conflict between man and nature. In this painting of a huntsman in the Adirondack region of New York State, a narrow range of earthen colors link man and environment so that it is difficult to distinguish the hunter from the desolate hill rising behind him. An avid sportsman, Homer visited the Adirondacks every summer for forty years, one of many vacationers who flocked to the Adirondacks in the late nineteenth century, drawn by the natural beauty of its lakes, mountains, and forests. Their presence threatened the natural cycles and creatures of the wilderness, and the Adirondack National Park was created to preserve the land and its wildlife a year after this picture was painted. The huntsman in Homer's painting is not a visitor but rather a local trapper or guide who has caught a deer and is carrying out only the pelt and antlers. With its tree stumps and autumnal colors, the painting emphasizes death and hints at an uneasy tension between the excitement of the hounds and the unemotional hunter. Jennifer A. Thompson, from Masterpieces from the Philadelphia Museum of Art: Impressionism and Modern Art (2007), p. 186.
  • PublicationPhiladelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections

    Unlike most of his contemporaries, Winslow Homer did not have academic training in Paris, and he also remained aloof from Impressionist and various other artistic trends. However, his personal interest in recreational hunting and fishing and in natural scenery coincided with the growing nostalgia for the American wilderness and rural life that accompanied the increasing urbanization of the United States in the late nineteenth century, and Homer became one of the period's most popular and successful artists. Based upon studies he had made during fishing trips to the Adirondacks, Huntsman and Dogs is characteristic of his unsentimental view of the conflict of humans and animals in a vast, overwhelmingly powerful natural world. In this overcast, late autumn landscape, only the hunter and his dogs are alive. All else is dead, the result of the inexorable working of the seasons and the depredations of humankind. The energetic movement of the barking dogs emphasizes both the hunter's isolation and his kinship with the silent, immutable landscape. Darrel Sewell, from Philadelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections (1995), p. 291.

* Works in the collection are moved off view for many different reasons. Although gallery locations on the website are updated regularly, there is no guarantee that this object will be on display on the day of your visit.

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