Playing a Fish

Winslow Homer

American, 1836–1910

Playing a Fish

1875, reworked in the 1890s

When Homer began this oil painting in 1875, he based it on a watercolor he made of his friend Eliphalet Terry during a fishing expedition to the Adirondack Mountains in New York a year earlier. While Terry is recognizable in the watercolor, in this painting he has become the quintessential outdoorsman—alone in a serene landscape, focused on reeling in his catch. Homer reworked this picture twenty years later, turning the original rowboat into a canoe and giving the blue sky the pink and ivory glow of twilight.

Medium Oil on canvas
Dimensions 11 11/16 x 18 15/16 in. (29.7 x 48.1 cm) Frame: 20 1/4 x 27 1/2 x 3 1/4 in. (51.4 x 69.9 x 8.3 cm)
Object Number 1955.773
Acquisition Acquired by Sterling and Francine Clark, 1955
Status On View

Image Caption

Winslow Homer, Playing a Fish, 1875, reworked in the 1890s, Oil on canvas. The Clark Art Institute, 1955.773.


Conrads, Margaret C. American Paintings and Sculpture at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. New York: Hudson Hills Press, 1990.


Nicholls Collection, Boston; [Schneider-Gabriel Galleries, New York, sold to John Herron Art Institute]; John Herron Art Institute, Indianapolis (1943–54); [Hirschl & Adler Galleries, sold to private collection, Texas, 1954]; private collection, Texas; [M. Knoedler & Co., sold to Clark, Feb. 1955]; Sterling and Francine Clark (1955); Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, 1955.