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Winslow Homer American

Not on view

Homer’s final contemplation on the grandeur and perils of the sea, Driftwood is likely the last oil painting that he completed before his death. A lone protagonist, dressed in foul-weather gear, attempts to collect a large piece of driftwood that has been carried across the vast and turbulent ocean to the rocky shore at Prouts Neck. Underscoring Homer’s interest in ocean currents, the image also summarizes the way the sea connected various themes across his career. The man’s task seems futile. Seen from behind, he is a surrogate not only for the artist facing death, but also for the many sailors he depicted confronting the enduring power of nature over the years. Homer died quietly in his Prouts Neck studio in September 1910, at the age of seventy-four.

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

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