Immediately in front of our eyes a fish leaps from the water. In this image of an instant, the very closeness of the fish seems to intensify the reality of its existence. Homer’s inscription correctly identifies the species as ounaniche, a type of landlocked salmon found in the Saguenay River which flows from Lake St. John, Quebec, to the St. Lawrence River.
The drawing typifies Homer’s mature style.1 Contours and large color areas, such as the moving patterns of light reflected on the surface of the water, with only a minimum of detail, are quickly drawn with few brush strokes.
A number of related pencil drawings are in the Cooper Union Museum, although none may be regarded as direct studies for the watercolor.
1. Hereward Lester Cooke, “The Development of Winslow Homer’s Water-color Technique,” Art Quarterly, 24 (1961), p. 178.
—Egbert Haverkamp-Begemann, Standish D. Lawder, and Charles W. Talbot, Jr., Drawings from the Clark Art Institute, 2 vols. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1964), 1:145-46, no. 349.