Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Lifestyles

September 17, 2012

Winslow Homer's Maine studio to open to public

SCARBOROUGH, Maine (AP) — The studio where painter Winslow Homer derived inspiration on Maine's craggy coast and produced some of his most notable seascapes isn't heated by wood or illuminated by oil lamps the way it was in Homer's day.

But in most other ways, the studio has now been restored to what it was like when Homer lived there, from 1883 until his death in 1910, following a multiyear, $2.8-million restoration by the Portland Museum of Art.

With the renovation complete, the museum will begin offering public tours this month, giving visitors a firsthand look at where Homer became one of America's foremost 19th-century painters and an esteemed figure in American art. Museum officials unveiled the studio Monday to members of the media and museum supporters.

There are only a small number of studios of famous artists — Andrew Wyeth, Jackson Pollock, Claude Monet and Frederic Church among them — that are open to the public and allow people to experience what the artist experienced in his day, Museum Director Mark Bessire said.

The Homer studio, located on the Prouts Neck peninsula 12 miles south of Portland, is significant because it's where Homer's artwork matured and where he created some of his masterpieces, he said.

"When Homer comes to Maine, Maine changes the way he painted," Bessire said. "You have artist studios where artists worked, but then you have artist studios where the place actually changed the artist."

Homer was born and raised in Boston and moved to New York as a young man. In his mid-40s, he moved to his family's estate in Maine and lived in a remodeled carriage house with a second-story balcony and an unobstructed view of the ocean.

Homer was already an accomplished artist, but it was here where he created his well-known works focusing on man versus nature, showing the angry tumultuous ocean crashing against shore and weather-beaten fishermen.

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