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Old Mill (The Morning Bell)

Winslow Homer American

Not on view

Homer’s talent for creating ambiguity and tension in seemingly sunny narratives is on display here. This is one among many 1870s images by the artist that explore transformational social change in the post-Civil War era—in this case, the expanding role of White working-class women in the wage economy. At its fulcrum is a sunlit figure, lunch pail in hand, ascending a makeshift structure that leads to a mill, as a bell atop the roof sounds to signal the beginning of the workday. She may be new to economic necessity; her finer dress and pronounced separation from the other women in homespun evokes a tension between urban and rural communities in a rapidly industrializing nation.

Old Mill (The Morning Bell), Winslow Homer (American, Boston, Massachusetts 1836–1910 Prouts Neck, Maine), Oil on canvas, American

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