Portrait of Winslow Homer taken in New York (detail), 1880, Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Brunswick, Maine, Gift of the Homer Family
Winslow Homer was born in Boston, the second of three sons of Henrietta Benson, an amateur watercolorist, and Charles Savage Homer, a hardware importer. As a young man, he was apprenticed to a commercial lithographer for two years before becoming a freelance illustrator in 1857. Soon he was a major contributor to such popular magazines as Harper’s Weekly. In 1859 he moved to New York to be closer to the publishers that commissioned his illustrations and to pursue his ambitions as a painter.