How Many Paintings did Winslow Homer Paint?

Time Of Info By TOI Staff   February 27, 2023   Update on : February 27, 2023

Winslow Homer Paint

Winslow Homer (1836 – 1910) was an American landscape painter and printmaker, and art historians regard him as a significant figure in the history of American art. Art was always part of his life, and although primarily self-taught, he started at a very young age to create works of art.

It is always challenging to determine exactly how many paintings an artist has created because not all paintings are always accounted for. However, it is believed that apart from about 120 wood engravings and an unknown number of early illustrations, Winslow Homer created 147 paintings.

In this article, we’ll have a brief look at the life of the painter Winslow Homer and then discuss some Winslow Homer paintings to indicate what the subjects of his paintings were.

Winslow Homer – Early Life

Winslow Homer was born in Boston Massachusetts, in 1836. His mother, Henrietta, was a gifted amateur watercolorist. She gave Homer his first art lessons. Later, the Homer artist took on many of his mother’s characteristics and traits. He definitely inherited her artistic talent.

After Winslow’s high school graduation, his father arranged for him an apprenticeship as a commercial lithographer. He worked on commercial work, such as sheet music covers, for about two years until he opened his own studio in Boston. After that, he was a freelance illustrator for nearly twenty years. Before he moved to New York in 1859, he provided illustrations of Boston and rural New England life to different magazines.

Winslow Homer experienced the reality of war early in his life when he was sent by “Harper’s Weekly” to the front of the Civil War to document the war. With his artistic talent, he tried to convey messages about the hardship of war. Apart from the actual war scenes, he also created illustrations and portraits of the ordinary life of average troops.

After the Civil War

After the Civil War, Winslow Homer moved to the Maine coastline, and apart from the famous artist Winslow Homer seascapes, he painted portraits conveying his social perceptions.

For the last part of his life, the main subject of his paintings was the sea. But although the paintings were about the sea, art critics agree that he often used “war aspects” and depicted the sea and the shore as a “battlefield” of waves and rocks. To a certain extent, the Winslow Homer sea paintings are a culmination of all his previous experiences.

Amazing Winslow Homer Artworks

When you look at the 147 Winslow Homer artworks created, you can “classify” them in different ways. For example, the famous painter Winslow Homer’s works are usually divided between watercolors and other mediums. But let’s also look at some of his artworks with specific themes.

After the Civil War, he painted portraits such as “A Visit from the Old Mistress” to convey his social perceptions”. With this painting, he commented on the social perceptions after the war. In this painting, four formerly enslaved people are staring at their former Mistress. The African-American woman looks directly at her old Mistress – at the same eye level. This painting defines the tensions between the former Mistresses to the new freedom of the formerly enslaved peoples.

Another painting where Homer conveyed his perception of the abolishment of slavery is “Sunday Morning in Virginia”. In this painting, you see a teacher with three students and an elderly woman in a slave cabin. The new generation is contrasted against the old. The teacher teaches from the Bible while three children huddle around her. There is a contrast in clothing between the teacher and the children.

With this painting, Homer demonstrated how the power of education could play an important role for future generations. He depicted the elderly teacher as facing away from the children, and with that, he indicated that she had been denied education in her younger days.

Check out Winslow Homer Watercolors

When you study Winslow Homer’s watercolor paintings, you’ll find that he almost always worked on natural visual sensations and outdoor color and light. You’ll find that he disregarded the traditional ways of using light.

He was an artist with the talent to combine the qualities of color, pigment, and line. Therefore his illustrations were always based on direct observations in nature.  

During the latter part of the 1800s, Homer started to use watercolors, and he had so much success with the medium that he stopped creating illustrations. His watercolors include the following paintings:

Boys in a Dory

“Boys on a Dory” was created in the mid-19th century and is one of his first watercolors painted on woven paper. It is an example of Homer’s trend to depict simple life and rural environments in his paintings.

On the Trail

“On the Trail” is part of a series of watercolors about deer hunting with dogs, called hounding. With hounding, dogs track and chase the deer. The hunter has a leash of hounds attached to his belt. He releases one dog at a time, and the deer takes to the river to escape the dogs. The hunter waits in a boat, overtakes the deer once it has entered the water, and then shoots it. Homer depicted a young hunter in this painting at the start of the hunt.

Winslow Homer Oil Paintings

Prisoners from the Front

“Prisoners from the Front” was created in 1866 and is also one of his famous oil paintings. It depicts an American Civil War situation where officers surrender.

A Visit from the Old Mistress

This 1876 painting was most probably painted during a visit to Virginia. “A Visit from the Old Mistress” is one of Homer’s paintings of black southern life of that time.

The Fog Warning

“The Fog Warning” is one of Homer’s famous oil paintings depicting the hard lives of fishermen.


The 147 paintings art lovers and scholars know of were done in different mediums, although Homer mostly worked with watercolors. To know all about Winslow Homer’s paintings, you can view all 147 works online by visiting art galleries. 



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