UNDERTOW DRAWINGS

Eleven years after Edward D. Adams purchased Undertow, Homer sent him six drawings that he had used to develop the painting’s composition. Although we know neither the date (with the exception of the one bearing the inscription April 25, 1886) nor the order in which Homer made the drawings, they show the quickness and spontaneity of his working process; Homer sketched on scraps of paper of varying color and size, using fronts and backs of some sheets, often without bothering to center the figures. These studies demonstrate that Homer worked through significantly different figural arrangements before deciding on the final composition.

Two Men (Study for Undertow), c. 1886

Standing Man Looking Toward Two Drowning Figures (Study for Undertow), c. 1886

Standing Man Looking Away from Two Drowning Figures (Study for Undertow), c. 1886

Standing Man (Study for Undertow), c. 1886

Drowning Figures (Study for Undertow), c. 1886

Three Central Figures (Study for Undertow), c. 1886


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