Friday, October 10, 2008


She turned her face to the window, 1868
Winslow Homer
Wood engraving, Engraver: Edward Sears
Page from The Galaxy, May, 1868, vol. V, opposite p. 581 Drawn by Winslow Homer, engraved by E. Sears

As commonly occurs in my wanderings (both virtually and physically) I've fallen in love with another artist, but not yet as a whole. Winslow Homer never held any particular interest for me, I tend to shy away from much American painting, while pretty and nice and often wonderfully real, I admit to finding it a bit dull. Many a painter was also a gifted draftsman, and Engravers such as Sears (who I can't find any info on quickly, only that he probably had his own engraving co. - via an ad in Harper's, maybe I'll do a little more research) spent their time bringing these drawings to the printed page. You'll see many of these images from Harper's Weekly, but all kinds of magazines and journals from the late 19th century appear.

I was playing around in the Brooklyn's Museum's collections using their new tag search to find works with women in them (an email from a dear friend prompted this :) and fell into the wonder of Homer's engravings. Maybe it is the lack of pretension in a drawing that has no color, where the focus is on the details of line, the need for a straightforward picture that tells a story, so it stands out amongst the text that surrounds it in the pages of the magazine. Either way (or ways I have yet to pinpoint), these wood engravings are great little stories that I can't stop looking at.

Also check out HarpWeek's cartoon of the day.

1 comment:

johnh said...

It indeed tells a story because its an illustration. Do you have any comments regarding "pure" art and "commercial" illustration?