Archive for January, 2011

Homer’s studio/home Prout’s Neck, Maine

I’ve done a post on Homer’s brushes here and his paper here and his paint here and here and I’ve posted a picture of his tin palette here , so why not do something about his studio.  Fortunately one of the people who left a comment (Louis Mezian) mentioned that he had visited Prout’s Neck and actually got into the studio and took pictures.  He has been kind enough to scan them and allow them to be posted here with his comments.

The background of the studio

Winslow Homer  settled on the coast of Maine in 1884 on some land adjacent to his father’s summer home at Prout’s Neck in Scarborough, Maine. He moved his father’s carriage house about 150 feet along the coast and retained architect John Calvin Stevens to modify the former stables into his studio and residence. Until his death in 1910,  he worked there when he wasn’t traveling, for example to the Bahamas.

The Portland Museum of Art purchased Winslow Homer’s Studio in January of 2006 and retained Mills Whitaker Architects in early 2007 to begin planning an restoration to restore the building to the time of Homer’s life (not, of course, to what it was like when it was a stable. The facility will be used for an artist/scholar-inresidence program, for special events hosted by the Museum Director and for high school art classes.

Here are some brief comments by Louis Mezian about his photos:

1. I don’t recall seeing before the laundry drying on the second floor. No, they are not Homer’s old longjohns still hanging. Actually as I was walking around a woman said hello from the second floor. She was staying there after having made arrangements with Homer’s relatives, she said. I think she added that others have stayed there also, and I can make a request too!

2. Naturally I was excited and curious, and then approached the door with great veneration. The entrance was actually a curtain. I pulled the curtain and … the portrait in the corner, and immediately the watercolors of Winslow Homer all over! All reproductions of course, but much of the furniture was his own and many of his books were there too still sitting neatly on the shelves.

3. The red curtain shown is the one I remember pulling. (Apparently there is a door too, but it may been open.)

4. The sign about the “mice and snakes” I had read about. He must have had it outside somewhere and it was to keep privacy. He didn’t want admirers coming around. The large crate he used for his travels south and maybe elsewhere (I don’t think he ever went to Galveston, Texas though?)

There was nobody around, and I stayed there for many hours!
Thanks, Louis!!

The Portland Museum has bought this house, charges $50 to visit, and there is nothing in it but the old snakes sign.  The New York Times has recently (11/2/2012) written an article about it here.

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