American Paintings - 7 of 8

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Undertow  by Winslow Homer

Winslow Homer
American, 1836-1910
Oil on canvas
75.7 x 121 cm
Acquired by Sterling and Francine Clark, 1924

The dramatic confrontation of humankind and nature dominated Homer's work in the mid-1880s. In the nineteenth century women were rarely taught to swim, and near-drownings were common occurrences. Undertow was based on a rescue that Homer witnessed in Atlantic City, New Jersey, although he arrived at the composition through careful study and great deliberation.