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.

The Life Line

Winslow Homer American

Not on view

A culmination of lessons learned abroad, this transitional representation of the artist’s new style and approach to epic subjects also exemplifies the theme of struggle in the face of nature. The compelling work was apparently inspired by an event Homer had witnessed in Atlantic City, New Jersey, during the summer of 1883 (soon after his return from England). The rescuer employs the recently invented breeches buoy, by which a victim could be transferred to safety via a system of ropes and pulleys. The Life Line was critically acclaimed in the National Academy’s 1884 annual exhibition and purchased by the New York collector Catharine Lorillard Wolfe for $2,500, the most money the artist had earned from any of his art to date.

The Life Line, Winslow Homer (American, Boston, Massachusetts 1836–1910 Prouts Neck, Maine), Oil on canvas, 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.