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Seeming close to us, a young man and three boys sit or recline in a small sailboat that tips to our left on a choppy dark green sea in this horizontal painting. The billowing sail extends off the top left corner of the canvas and is echoed in the background to our right by the tall sails of another ship in the distance. The horizon line comes about a third of the way up the composition, and puffy grey and white clouds sweep across the turquoise sky. The sun lights the scene from our right so the boys’ ruddy faces are in shadow under their hats. The young man and boys all face our left so they lean against and into the boat as it cants up to our right. The boy nearest the sail to our left reclines across the bow. Next to him to our right, a younger boy perches on the edge of the boat and holds on with both hands. The oldest, in a red shirt, sits on the floor of the boat as he maneuvers the sail with a rope. Closer to us and to our right, a younger boy sits with his bare feet pressed together in front of his bent knees on the back edge of the boat, gazing into the distance over his right shoulder as he handles the tiller. The artist signed and dated the painting in dark letters in the lower right corner: “HOMER 1876.”

Winslow Homer, Breezing Up (A Fair Wind), 1873-1876, oil on canvas, Gift of the W. L. and May T. Mellon Foundation, 1943.13.1

Canceled—American Stories

  • Sunday, May 31, 2020
  • 3:30 p.m. – 4:20 p.m.
  • West Building, Main Floor - Rotunda

From early beginnings in portraiture to emerging themes of landscape and genre painting, American art reveals the stories that both reflected and shaped an evolving national identity. This tour traces the changes in American art from colonial days to the early twentieth century and touches on key moments in history.

March
Monday—Sunday at 1:30 p.m.
Monday, Friday at 3:00 p.m.

April—May
Monday—Friday at 1:30 p.m.
Monday, Friday at 3:00 p.m.
Saturday, Sunday at 3:30 p.m.