At one end of the gallery, hung side by side, are three large marines by Winslow Homer that are quite the next thing to a brisk tramp along the shore on a stormy day. First [in Eastern Point] the storm is at its height, dashing with increasing fury upon the rock foreground, then [in Northeaster, 1895, The Metropolitan Museum of Art] it abates somewhat and the eye penetrates the mist and spume only to discover other incoming waves, and finally, in the third canvas [West Point, Prout’s Neck], the storm has passed off and the day is ending in a glow of clouded sunset reflected by the not yet quieted sea.
—“Pictures at the Union League Club,” New York Evening Post, 11 Jan. 1901
In the long run, however, one asks little more of the painter of nature than Winslow Homer gives in Eastern Point. . . . The picture is too well known for comment: it is filled with spray, satisfactorily transmitting light with a moist brilliance.
—Margaretta M. Salinger, “Three Shows and the American Tradition,” Parnassus, Feb. 1932
Homer’s most famous piece of 1900 is the mighty oil Eastern Point, Prout’s Neck. In the dead center of the picture, surrounded by the creaming waves, is Black Rock, just offshore of the eastern extremity of the Neck, and the whole work is almost a portrait of that perpetually sea-washed ledge. . . . Winslow had acquired Eastern Point from his brother Arthur before 1900; few painters own the seashore subjects of their own masterpieces. But even before he had become a property owner at Eastern Point, Homer had seen its pictorial possibilities, particularly at high tide. One of his earliest watercolors done at Prout’s was Surf at Eastern Point; though his favorite mares’ tails are the only hint in that picture of the weight and power of the waves which he was to bring to such racy and vigorous consummation in Eastern Point, Prout’s Neck.
—Philip C. Beam, Winslow Homer at Prout’s Neck (Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1966)
Homer painted three great seascapes in the fall of 1900: On a Lee Shore (Rhode Island School of Design), West Point, Prout’s Neck (Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute), and Eastern Point. He conceived of the latter two as companions, writing that as a pair they would “make an impression.” He finished Eastern Point first, signing and dating it on October 14—a specificity as to day rare in landscape paintings of this scale and era. The two pictures together not only make an impression but culminate a decade in which Homer devoted himself to painting the Maine seacoast, and bracket, geographically, the half-mile-long cliff line of Prout’s Neck that was his focus. When the two were seen together in New York in 1901, they prompted some critics to praise his truthfulness: “He shows us the elemental beauty of the sea, and shows it with undiluted realistic force.” Most writers then and throughout the first half of the century preferred Eastern Point to the more showy West Point, Prout’s Neck. Eastern Point has a relatively complex history of ownership. Lyman G. Bloomingdale, founder of the New York department store, bought the work in 1903. Clark acquired it two decades later, in 1923. But he sold it; by 1929 it was in the collection of the Addison Gallery of American Art. Only in 1954, after it was deaccessioned by the Addison, and after he had both acquired West Point, Prout’s Neck and determined to share his collection with the public through founding the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, did he buy it back, reuniting the great pair of Homer’s late seascapes.
—Marc Simpson, curator of Winslow Homer: Making Art, Making History and curator of American art at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute