To do this, photographs had to first be converted to line
art drawings by an artist. In this role, there was little room for artistic
interpretation . . . the task was simply to as accurately as possible
capture the details of a photograph in a drawing. As such, this work was
often published without attribution to Homer. There are several examples of
illustrations published which were photographs by Mathew Brady, and then
converted to line art by Winslow Homer. As time progressed, Harper's began
to expand Homer's role, and he was sent to events to directly create
drawings. A notable example was that Homer attended Abraham Lincoln's
inauguration, and created several drawings which were published by
Harper's. Much of this early work could be described as accurate drawings
He was simply capturing the image in front of him as carefully as possible.
Harper's often did not cite Winslow Homer as the artist
for pictures that they published. He was sometimes referred to as their
"Special Artist". However, this designation was also used for other
artists as well. As such, it can be difficult to know which Harper's
illustrations were done by Homer, particularly in his early years with the
Some illustrations in Harper's include his
signature in the corner of the illustration, some were attributed to him by
name in the caption, and others are believed to be his because of the
distinct style of the drawing.
Winslow Homer Civil War Drawing
Thanksgiving-Day In The Army. After Dinner : The
As the war continued, Homer's work evolved, and you can
see his distinct drawing style emerge. He began to draw pictures which were
much more artistic in nature, and less like the work of a lithographer. He
drew pictures which were high contrast, bold, and with less attention to
After the war, Homer began a career as a painter. He
painted several pictures based on drawings he had done during the war,
including the Sharpshooter and Prisoners from the front.
Homer went to France in 1867 and began painting
landscapes, as he continued to do drawings for Harper's. By 1875 he stopped
his work as a commercial lithographer, and focused on his painting. His 1872
painting Snap the Whip was very well received, and was displayed at the 1876
Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia.
In the 1880's he moved to Prout's Neck, Maine and began
painting scenes of the sea and coast. It is interesting to note the contrast
in the subject matter of his work. His early work captured the horror of the
Civil War, and towards the end of his life, his work captured the peace and
serenity of the Maine Coast. Winslow Homer died on September 29, 1910.