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Weary and Dissatisfied with Everything

Winslow Homer

American Art

Regarded as one of the great American Realists of the nineteenth century, Winslow Homer is known primarily for his large body of works in oil and watercolor. However, he also had an early career as a freelance illustrator, making drawings for wood engravings that were reproduced in mass-circulation periodicals such as Harper's Weekly. In 1998, the Brooklyn Museum received a generous gift of more than 250 wood-engraved illustrations by Homer from Harvey Isbitts.

Homer was commissioned to create five illustrations for the serialized novel, Susan Fielding. Rooted in contrasts between city and country, wealth and poverty, virtue and duplicity, the novel is full of romantic intrigue. Orphaned and impoverished, Susan comes under the care of her elderly Uncle Adam in Brittany. Meanwhile, Susan’s greedy, willful friend Portia is staying at a fashionable summer resort nearby. She is leading a young, rich lord on a merry chase, when her attractive, older cousin John Dysart appears on the scene. On the walkway near the casino, she pours out her heart in the moonlit evening. He responds: "Weary and dissatisfied with everything! You used to tell me just the same story when you were sixteen." Homer followed the words fairly closely in this instance, down to the passage that reads, "Portia’s face . . . was distinctly outlined against the opal background of still sea."
MEDIUM Wood engraving
DATES 1869
DIMENSIONS Image: 7 1/8 x 4 3/4 in. (18.1 x 12.1 cm) Sheet: 9 1/4 x 5 3/4 in. (23.5 x 14.6 cm) Frame: 20 x 15 x 1 1/2 in. (50.8 x 38.1 x 3.8 cm)
CREDIT LINE Gift of Harvey Isbitts
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
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