Sailing in American Art

On the Sands, 1881

Homer - On the Sands

Winslow Homer

Bequest of Julia B. Engel

After some extensive traveling back to England and in the early 1880s, Homer finally settled in a small town near Portland, Maine.  While living in Maine, Homer was able to take trips to the Adirondacks, Canada, Florida and the Caribbean.  It was on these trips that Homer began to develop a keen interest in producing watercolors.  It was in Maine that Homer enjoyed complete isolation and was able to focus on the themes that he cared so much about, including his desire to portray man’s struggle with water. Although, in works such as On the Sands, Homer did include men in the water, in his old age he focused more on the beauty of the water itself and the reflective qualities. 


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