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Waiting for Dad (Longing)

Winslow Homer American

Not on view

Imbued with subtle tension regarding parental absence and possible loss, this image echoes other Gloucester watercolors of young boys from the 1870s. A formative subject for Homer, the waiting child is an early example of the theme of anticipation and unknown outcomes that would pervade his later renderings of seaside communities, especially the more ominous pictures of Cullercoats, England. The artist repeated the motif in an oil of the same year, suggesting a more hopeful conclusion with the title Dad’s Coming! (National Gallery of Art, Washington DC). Yet tragedy was common in the Massachusetts fishing village; during Homer’s visit there in August 1873, a single storm destroyed nine fishing vessels, and 128 sailors did not return home.

Waiting for Dad (Longing), Winslow Homer (American, Boston, Massachusetts 1836–1910 Prouts Neck, Maine), Watercolor on wove paper, American

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