WINSLOW HOMER AT PROUT'S NECK by Philip C. Beam

WINSLOW HOMER AT PROUT'S NECK

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This is a thoroughgoing, rather conventional biography of the artist whom John Canaday places with Eakins and Copley among the top three American painters. Philip Beam is fully acquainted with his subject, yet does not appear to be on intimate terms with him. He does not probe psychologically--he is content to portray Homer's parents without inferring influence and he disposes of Homer's bachelorhood with the simple statement that he was married to his work. The portrait of the man who removed himself from the heart of the art world to live in a Maine village frequented by summer people, but who stayed on through all seasons (except in later years) to win the affection and respect of the natives, offers some revealing touches. Homer was wont to place his medals in a cigar box and put them under the lower branches of a juniper bush for safe-keeping while he wintered south. More important is the care with which the author follows the course of Homer's work and correlates his life with his painting, even to the particulars of time and place for a great many paintings. He traces his development from sentimental popularization for Harper's Weekly through the decisive stay at Tynemouth when ""he began to relate the powers of nature to humanity;"" to the mature years at Prout's Neck. Indeed this book is probably more satisfactory as a catalogue than as straight biography, since it wants a certain sophistication of insight for the more demanding reader. The writing itself is sturdy rather than stimulating, with some repetitions an editorial pen might easily have deleted.

Publisher: Little, Brown