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Sailing in American Art

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Key West, Hauling Anchor, 1903

Homer - Key West, Hauling Anchor

Winslow Homer

Gift of Ruth K. Henschel in memory of her husband, Charles R. Henschel
1975.92.9  From the Tour:  Winslow Homer Watercolors — A Survey of Themes and Styles

After not working for more than a year, Homer traveled to Florida in December 1903. The watercolors he executed on this trip turned out to be his final series. Key West, Hauling Anchor is part of the Key West series, which focused exclusively on the schooners in the harbor. The white hulled boats floating on blue water continue a motif used earlier in the Bahamas.

As with the Bahamas series, Homer ignored all but the essentials and concentrated on capturing the effects of light and color. The simplified color scheme of white hull and sails, red-shirted crew, and gray-blue sea and sky produce a scene of sunlit clarity. A sense of continuous movement is created by cropping the top of the masts and furled sail. The Key West watercolors are among the artist’s most luminous and vibrant works.

 
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