Homer purchased his first camera in the early 1880s. Beginning in the 1890s, he and his brother Charles took photographs during fishing excursions to Florida and the Adirondacks. The recent acquisition of River Scene, Florida, attributed to Homer, was probably taken during their trip to Florida in 1904. Despite Homer’s evident interest in photography, he was silent about the medium and never commented on whether it influenced his art or whether he viewed his own photographs as fine art or as merely personal records.
The photograph also relates to the Clark’s institutional history and to a major development in its collecting practices: in 1998 the Clark began building a collection of photography dating from the invention of the medium to the early twentieth century. River Scene, Florida enriches this collection by adding a tropical subject, not uncommon in Homer’s oeuvre, and a different medium to the Clark’s Homer holdings.
|River Scene, Florida, c. 1904|