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Portland Museum of Art to Open Winslow Homer Studio in September 2012

In September 2012, the Portland Museum of Art will open the Winslow Homer Studio to the public. One of the most significant locations in the history of American art, the Studio, located at Prouts Neck, Maine, is where the great American artist Winslow Homer (1836-1910) lived and painted many of his masterpieces from 1883 until his death. A National Historic Landmark, the renovated Winslow Homer Studio will celebrate the artist’s life, encourage scholarship on Homer, and educate audiences to appreciate the artistic heritage of Winslow Homer and Maine. Tours of the Studio will begin from the Museum on Monday, September 24, 2012, and tickets will go on sale next summer on the Museum’s website

“The opening of the Winslow Homer Studio will be a pivotal moment in American art history. For the first time, visitors will be able to experience the Studio as it was during Homer’s time and discover the actual location where he created his best-known paintings,” said Museum Director Mark H. C. Bessire. “This cultural treasure is truly a gift to the American people.”

Located on the rocky coast of Maine just 12 miles from the Portland Museum of Art, the Studio was purchased by the Museum in 2006 from Charles Homer Willauer, the great grand-nephew of Homer. To date the Museum’s national capital campaign has raised $8.5 million toward a $10.5 goal to support the acquisition, preservation, interpretation, and endowment of the Studio. Concurrently, the Museum has been restoring the building to the period when Homer lived there from 1883 until his death in 1910.

In celebration of the opening of the Studio, the Museum will present the exhibition Weatherbeaten: The Late Paintings of Winslow Homer, on view September 22 through December 30, 2012. Comprised of more than 30 major oils and watercolors painted during Homer’s tenure in the Studio, Weatherbeaten will offer new perspectives on Homer’s life in light of recent discoveries and scholarship about the Studio. Weatherbeaten will feature works from museums throughout the country including the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C., and The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. A full-color catalogue will be published by Yale University Press.

The Portland Museum of Art has long been a destination for scholars and admirers of Winslow Homer’s work. Homer first exhibited paintings at the Museum in 1893, showing the painting Signal of Distress. In 1976, Charles Shipman Payson, a philanthropist and summer resident of Maine, gave an outstanding collection of 17 paintings by Winslow Homer to the Museum (four oils and 13 watercolors), as well as $8 million to build an addition to house the collection. One hundred years after Homer moved to Prouts Neck in 1883, the Museum opened the new wing named after Charles Shipman Payson. The Museum’s Homer collection also includes such notable objects as his first oil painting, Sharpshooter; an original watercolor paint box; and a nearly comprehensive collection of 400 illustrations given to the Museum by the Osher family in 1991. The graphics collection includes more than 90% of Homer’s graphic output and chronicles the artist’s early career as a commercial illustrator.

Museum Information
The Portland Museum of Art is located at Seven Congress Square in downtown Portland. The Museum is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday. Memorial Day through Columbus Day, the Museum is open on Mondays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Museum admission is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and students with I.D., $4 for youth ages 6 to 17, and children under 6 are free. The Museum is free on Friday evenings from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Museum Cafe and Store. For more information, call (207) 775-6148. Web site

Image: Exterior of the Studio when the Museum purchased the building in 2006.

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