On loan to The Met The Met accepts temporary loans of art both for short-term exhibitions and for long-term display in its galleries.

Customs House, Santiago de Cuba

Winslow Homer American

Not on view

As the title indicates, this watercolor represents the aduana (customs house), where the Spanish colonial government collected tariffs on imported goods. One of Homer’s most accomplished architectural studies from his 1885 trip to Cuba, it adopts a ground-level view of the building’s arched colonnade, rather than depicting the imposing facade. On the balcony, several women waving colorful fans appear behind an intricately drawn balustrade. At left, the Spanish flag directs the viewer’s gaze down to the Spanish army, silhouetted with bayonets in the distance. Their presence recalls Homer’s observation that Cuba—then embroiled in a series of wars for independence—was a "red hot place full of soldiers."

Customs House, Santiago de Cuba, Winslow Homer (American, Boston, Massachusetts 1836–1910 Prouts Neck, Maine), Watercolor on paper, American

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.