Winslow Homer at the National Gallery
In the late afternoon of 5th January 2023, a group of Pilgrims and their guests overcame rail strikes and met at the National Gallery to see the exhibition "Winslow Homer: Force of Nature." We were extremely fortunate to be accompanied on our tour by Chris Riopelle who had curated the exhibition. Chris is the Neil Westreich Curator of Post 1800 Paintings, a title which does not begin to convey the easy and engaging way in which he shared his considerable scholarship with us. He did not just provide an introduction and leave us to it, but very generously accompanied us from start to finish.
Homer was born in Boston in 1836. He had very little in the way of formal training as an artist. He lived through the American Civil War and the abolition of slavery which provided the subject matter for a number of remarkable paintings. He travelled to England in 1881 and stayed in Cullercoats, a town on the North East coast, where his work reflected his preoccupation with scenes of heroism and resilience and the relationship between humankind and the environment. In 1883, he made his home in Maine. Until his death in 1910, the coast and the sea continued to provide the inspiration for some memorable work.
A further treat was in store for us as Peter Cadbury kindly hosted us afterwards for drinks at the Beefsteak Club in Irving Street. It was a great opportunity to get to know each other in splendid surroundings. All our thanks are due to Chris, Peter and Amy Thompson for a very special and hugely enjoyable occasion.