Arts Everyday Living: The Last Days of Summer–Winslow Homer, A Special Treat by the Sea

Winslow Homer, Berry Pickers, 1873, watercolor and gouache over graphite on wove paper, Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

Title: Berry Pickers

Artist: Winslow Homer, 1836-1910

Have you ever picked blue berries by the sea? In this vibrant watercolor, American master Winslow Homer captures a gathering of children engaged in such an activity in Gloucester, Massachusetts in 1873.  Fanning out in different directions, each one concentrates on his or her task, eagerly collecting the delicious prize. Perhaps as an ingredient in a delectable dessert of cobbler or pie, or covered with creamy milk or simply eaten alone, juicy and fresh, never failing to satisfy the tastebuds. Or maybe to be sold, to a fortunate buyer at the nearby market, the source of needed money for their families.

And do they seem to have a leader? Is it the taller girl who stands against the rock on our left, her pail in hand?  Holding down her skirt, against the gusting wind while the ribbon on her stylish hat swirls freely above. Perhaps the weather is about to change, the bright sunlight now illuminating the industrious group and surrounding landscape, might soon be replaced by a stormy front of rain and clouds.




In the public domain, courtesy of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

The National Gallery of Art does not endorse or approve use of the above image or any of the material on this website. Nor has the National Gallery of Art participated in any projects utilizing the said image.

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