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Winslow Homer Master of Water Color Winslow Homer is widely regarded as one of the forerunners of the great nineteenth-century American Painters Homer was a New Englander by birth and long ancestry Circa 1636 Captain John Homer an Englishman living in the west of England and active in maritime shipping immigrated to America He settled in Massachusetts where almost two centuries later his descendant Winslow Homer was born in Boston on February 24th 1836 Winslow grew up in the nearby village of Cambrige a short walk from Harvard University His mother was like his father of old New England Yankee stock and he undoubtedly inherited her artistic talent She encouraged him as a child when he started to show an aptitude for drawing she was a skillful amateur watercolorist Around the age of eighteen Homer became apprenticed to a Boston lithographer John H Bufford here he learned to copy other peoples drawings onto printing stones he also produced sheet-music covers and other commercial works His only form of training was at local art classes where he learned the basic principles and styles of art He also studied under Frederick Rondel a well-known painter in Boston This lasted for roughly two to three years until he grew tired and set himself up as a freelance illustrator at the age of 21 Much of his work was published in the newly popular pictorial weeklies including Harpers Weekly which was one of the most popular magazines in its day His illustrations almost always focused on the life he observed around him in the city and country He drew his illustrations on wood blocks that were then engraved by others following the usual practice of the time In 1859 he moved from Boston to New York to be closer to the Harpers office and also because he was now determined to become a painter New York was the center of the American art world He took a few
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