Winslow Homer, the American Realist painter, lived and worked in his studio at Prouts Neck in Scarborough, Maine for nearly thirty years before he died, creating many of his most memorable paintings such as The Fox Hunt. Today, this studio will reopen to the public after undergoing renovations. To coincide with this event, the exhibition, “Weatherbeaten: Winslow Homer and Maine” currently is on view at The Portland Museum of Art.
Inspired by the intense weather conditions at his doorstep, Homer turned to themes involving life and death and the power of nature. These sublime subjects are reinforced by the self-taught artist’s dark and rugged Realist style. He was a reclusive and mysterious man and one imagines him living on the jagged coast of Maine in frigid temperatures brooding over the bigger questions about life and incorporating his observations into his powerful artwork.
The Fox Hunt is one of his most famous paintings that reveals brutal realities about nature. Homer tells the story about the fight to survive without any humans in the composition. In a barren and frozen landscape, crows pursue a fox. The fox and crows cut a dramatic diagonal through the composition that insinuates the high speed of the chase. The deep blues in the sky and greens in the ocean contrast with the bright white of the frozen ground. The red berries that poke out of the snow before the animal are like a premonition of the drops of blood that may spill onto the pristine snow.