Winslow Homer

Nicolai Cikovsky, Jr., Author
Nicolai Cikovsky, Jr., Author ABRAMS $45 (160p) ISBN 978-0-8109-1193-2
Reviewed on: 03/31/1990
Release date: 04/01/1990
Instead of Winslow Homer as unvarnished, naive democrat, an artist divorced from the intellectual life of his times, Cikovsky gives us a painter who was a modernist in his detachment, anxiety and impersonality. Plunging into New York City's seething cultural milieu in the 1860s, the Boston-born illustrator joined a loose artistic circle that included jounalist Eugene Benson, whose programmatic call for a modern, national, indigenous art struck a chord in Homer. But disillusionment set in with the corrupt Gilded Age of the 1870s, and Homer took refuge in art, plumbing nature's elemental power in his seascapes, and investigating the act of seeing in vibrant, spontaneous watercolors of the tropics or the Maine coast. His later paintings grasp death with almost mystical immediacy. Curator of American art at the National Gallery, Cikovsky lays bare new worlds of meaning in this immensely rewarding, superbly illustrated reassessment. (July)
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