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The Noon Recess

Winslow Homer

American Art

Homer investigated the subject of the American country school in a series of paintings and engravings beginning in the 1870s. His focus on the theme occurred at a crucial time of reform in American education, when teaching duties were taken over largely by women who were professionally trained, disciplinary tactics were modified, and new teaching methods reflected the belief in children’s ability to learn in a sympathetic environment. The Noon Recess appeared opposite an anonymously written poem of the same title (possibly composed in response to the image), which examined the emotional states of the two figures: “Yes, hide your little tearstained face / Behind that well-thumbed book, my boy; / Your troubled thoughts are all intent / Upon the game your mates enjoy, / While you this recess hour must spend / On study bench without a friend. . . .”

MEDIUM Wood engraving
DATES 1873
DIMENSIONS Image: 9 1/8 x 13 5/8 in. (23.2 x 34.6 cm) Sheet: 11 1/8 x 15 3/4 in. (28.3 x 40 cm) Frame: 16 3/4 x 22 3/4 x 1 1/2 in. (42.5 x 57.8 x 3.8 cm)
COLLECTIONS American Art
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
ACCESSION NUMBER 1998.105.174
CREDIT LINE Gift of Harvey Isbitts
CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Page from Harper's Weekly, June 28, 1873, vol. XVII, p. 549
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