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Study for "The Gulf Stream"

Winslow Homer American

Not on view

In this remarkable watercolor, Homer studied details of the bow of The Gulf Stream’s boat. Significantly, he indicated the precise arrangement of the brightly colored stalks of sugarcane across the deck. By placing sugarcane at the center of his composition and writing that "the subject of this picture is comprised in its title," Homer made an unequivocal reference to the institution of slavery. Sugar was a central commodity in the triangular trade between Europe, Africa, and the Americas, and the Gulf Stream current played an essential role in both its conveyance and the trafficking of enslaved people. The study also includes the damaged mast and gunwale (the upper edge of the vessel’s side), which he would later edit somewhat in the oil painting.

Study for "The Gulf Stream", Winslow Homer (American, Boston, Massachusetts 1836–1910 Prouts Neck, Maine), Watercolor and chalk on wove paper, American

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