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The Brush Harrow

Winslow Homer American

Not on view

One of Homer’s most poignant Civil War subjects, The Brush Harrow depicts two children laboring to prepare a field for spring planting using an outmoded agricultural tool—a harrow made of tree branches. The quiet scene shows the war’s human, socioeconomic, and environmental impact on the home front, where young boys do the work of absent men. It is one of three canvases of nearly the same size—along with Prisoners from the Front (1866, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 22.207) and Veteran in a New Field (1865, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 67.187.131)—that the artist painted in 1865-66. As a group, the works demonstrate the variety of Homer’s symbolic approaches to rendering the epic conflict and its tragic and hopeful aftermath.

The Brush Harrow, Winslow Homer (American, Boston, Massachusetts 1836–1910 Prouts Neck, Maine), Oil on canvas, American

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