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Lady of Santiago (Spanish Girl with a Fan)

Winslow Homer American

Not on view

From the Bahamas, Homer sailed to Cuba, another popular destination for U.S. travelers in the northern Caribbean Sea. He arrived in Santiago de Cuba in February 1885. In this watercolor, the artist depicts a criolla (a Cuban woman of Spanish descent) wearing a black lace mantilla (veil) and holding an abanico (fan), both highly prized accessories often imported from Spain. The anonymous sitter, whom Homer referred to only as the "Lady of Santiago," casts a sidelong glance from behind her fan, her expression inscrutable. Together, the accessories, the tropical flora, and the woman’s half-covered face show Homer’s adoption of established visual tropes that cast Cuba as "exotic" and underscored Spain’s cultural influence on the island.

Lady of Santiago (Spanish Girl with a Fan), Winslow Homer (American, Boston, Massachusetts 1836–1910 Prouts Neck, Maine), Watercolor on paper, American

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