EXPANDING THE MARKET

Homer lived by his art. Earning money mattered. From the mid-1860s on—as soon as he started to sell paintings—Homer attempted to find alternative means of reaching a wider audience. These efforts took on new urgency in the 1870s when he considered leaving behind the practice of periodical illustration and the modest but reliable income it had provided. Family lore reports that in the 1870s he did not marry because he was not sure he could support a wife. Even into the twentieth century, when his fame and fortune were secure, he regularly prodded his dealers about prices and different ways to market his works more effectively. The pictures in this gallery reveal some of the strategies he explored: the exhibition of drawings and watercolors as finished works; etchings based on preexisting motifs for sale to collectors; and, for the broadest public, chromolithographs and other reproductive formats.

Fishing in the North Woods, 1896

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