In the 1870’s children at leisure were frequent subjects of Homer’s paintings. This painting depicts a catboat called the Gloucester chopping through white caps on "a fair wind". Inside the boat are a man, three boys, and their catch of the day. Breezing Up was the original title of the painting. It was painted during the period 1873-1876. Homer began this painting from a watercolor sketch he made while visiting in Gloucester, Massachusetts. Choosing the sketch which most resembled the outcome he desired, he re-painted the watercolor sketch in oil. He changed the composition of the original watercolor sketch somewhat after he was inspired by scenes of the Massachusetts coast. The oil painting differs from Homer’s previous watercolor in that he removed a fourth boy, and a second schooner off in the distance. Today, Breezing-Up is considered Homer’s finest iconic, American painting.
This painting was completed in America’s centennial year of 1876. The painting captured the look, spirit, and hope of American life. It was a favorite at the National Academy of Design, and then at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. So many critics were speaking of the painting that the name was shortened to “Breezing Up.” It is a fresh, energetic, compelling, and beautiful work of art, displaying the hope for America, and the optimism which flourishes within the everyday lives of people in this country.
Measures 26.25 x 20.5 inches Outside