Arts Everyday Living: Winslow Homer–Art of the Seascape, High Cliffs, Giant Waves, and Man

Winslow Homer, High Cliff, Coast of Maine, 1894, oil on canvas, overall: 30 1/4 x 38 1/4 in., Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of William T. Evans, 1909


High Cliff, Coast of Maine, 1894

Artist: Winslow Homer (1836-1910)


The high cliffs of Maine drop sheerly into the turbulent sea. Giant waves batter the rocky ledges spurting geysers of white foam into the atmosphere. The thundering sound of crashing surf rings in our ears while the moist spray of billowing water brushes against our faces.

We are alone with nature, its beauty and its power. Yet wait. Can you see them? Human figures almost hidden from our sight at the very tip of the rocks, in the upper corner on our right. Strollers perhaps willing to brave the elements for a closer view of the drama so far below them.

High Cliff, Coast of Maine was painted during Homer’s years in Prout Neck’s where he moved in his late forties. It was a turning point in the great artist’s career for he was determined to concentrate on the sea and its many moods, leaving behind the swimmers and vacationers as well as the stylish women who once populated his works.




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This media is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions), Smithsonian.


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