Winslow Homer's The Life Line: A Narrative of gender and modernity

1 This essay is based on Kathleen A. Foster, Shipwreck! Winslow Homer and "The Life Line" (Philadelphia Museum of Art and Yale University Press, 2012), which contains an analysis of the reception of the painting in 1884, as well as additional commentary and bibliography on its sources. 2 Edgar Allan Poe, "The Philosophy of Composition," Graham's American Monthly Magazine of Literature and Art, no. 244 (April 1846), p. 165. 3 For Bertrand's painting and its similarity to Homer's Cast Up by the Sea, see Roger Stein, "Picture and Text: The Literary World of Winslow Homer," in Winslow Homer: A Symposium, ed. Nicolai Cikovsky Jr., Studies in the History of Art, no. 26 (National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, 1990), pp. 49-50. 4 See ibid., pp. 49-50. 5 The phrase "women and children first" was coined following a particularly disastrous shipwreck in 1852; see B. R. Burg, "Women and Children First: Popular Mythology and Disaster at Sea," Journal of American Culture, vol. 20, no. 4 (Winter 1997), pp. 1-7. On the cultural commentary vested in "The Wreck of the Hesperus," see Robin Miskolcze, Women and Children First: Nineteenth-Century Sea Narratives and American Identity (University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, 2007), pp. 61-63. 6 On Homer and his reasons for visiting Cullercoats, see William H. Gerdts, "Winslow Homer in Cullercoats," Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin, vol. 36, no. 2 (Spring 1977), pp. 18-35; Abigail Booth Gerdts, "The Winslow Homer Connection," in Laura Newton, Cullercoats: A North- East Colony of Artists (Sansom and Co., Bristol, in association with the Laing A r t Ga l l e r y, Ne wc a s t l e Up o n Ty n e , 2 0 0 3) , p p . 67-74 . 7 William Howe Downes, The Life and Works of Winslow Homer (Houghton Mifflin, Boston, 1911), p. 120. 8 Numerous articles in periodicals such as Harper's and Scribner's from the period 1878-1886 are surveyed in Foster, Shipwreck! 9 E. R. "The National Academy of Design: Fifty-Ninth Annual Exhibition," The American, April 12, 1884, pp. 8-9.

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[Compiled by Bill Stern, Executive Director at the Museum of California Design, Los Angeles. Originally published in "Curator's Eye" in Modern Magazi

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