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Seattle Art Museum (SAM)

The Salmon Net

Photo: Elizabeth Mann

The Salmon Net


Winslow Homer

born Boston,1836; died Prout's Neck, Maine,1910

In an extended stay on the North Sea coast of England in 1881-82, the painter Winslow Homer made a series of dramatic drawings in charcoal of the local fishermen and their wives and daughters. He observed them closely, going about their routine tasks of gathering mussels for bait, mending nets, hauling in the catch, and watching and waiting through long nights, foggy days, and terrifying storms for the fishing fleet to return home. These drawings later became the inspiration for paintings back in his studio at Prout’s Neck, Maine, and parts of this drawing appear in a subsequent painting set not in England but on the cliffs near the artist’s studio home, above Saco Bay. Homer valued these drawings highly and exhibited the group of them in Boston and New York, as a tribute to these self-reliant and heroic sea-faring people.

Charcoal and white chalk on medium weight machine paper
Overall: 21 1/2 × 29 1/4 in. (54.6 × 74.3 cm)
William Edris Bequest Fund; Margaret E. Fuller Purchase Fund; Richard E. Fuller Acquisition Fund
Provenance: [Doll & Richards Gallery, New York, by November 29, 1884; for sale, $200]; [Artists’ Fund Society of New York, January 13-14, 1885; sold for $40]; sold to Marshall Ayres, Jr. (1839-1906), New York; to his cousin and business partner Josiah O. Lombard, Jr. (1843-1908), New York; by bequest to his daughter, Isabella Lombard Simpson, San Francisco, to July 1936; sold to [M. O’Brien & Sons, Inc. Chicago, July 1936]; sold to [M. Knoedler & Co., New York, December 7, 1936]; sold to Huntington Hartford (George Huntington Hartford II, 1911-2008), New York, December 19, 1936-1974; to [Hirschl & Adler Galleries, New York, by 1973]; sold to Seattle Art Museum, December 30, 1974 [as Figures on a Rock (Carrying the Net)]
Photo: Elizabeth Mann
Not currently on view


Exhibition HistoryBoston, Doll & Richards, Studies in Black and White, Nov. 29-Dec. 6, 1884. Cat. no. 76, The Salmon Net.

New York, Century Association, [Nine (char)coal drawings by Winslow Homer], opened Dec. 20, 1884. No catalogue.

New York, National Academy of Design, Artists’ Fund Society of New York, Twenty-fifth Annual Exhibition, Jan. 3-12, 1885. Cat. no. 95, The Salmon Net.

New York, Gallery of Modern Art, The Drawing Society, Jan. 18-{ }, 1965. {No checklist}. [Hung as part of the Huntington Hartford collection].

New York, Whitney Museum of American Art, Winslow Homer, Apr. 3-June 3, 1973 (Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, July 3-Aug. 15, 1973; Chicago, The Art institute of Chicago, Sept. 8-Oct. 21, 1973). Text by Lloyd Goodrich. Cat. no. 172, reproduced p. 33, Figures on a Rock. [Lent by Huntington Hartford].

New York, M. Knoedler & Co., Winslow Homer in Monochrome, Dec. 12, 1986-Jan.10, 1987. Cat. no. 65, Figures on a Rock.

Milwaukee, Milwaukee Art Museum, Coming Away: Winslow Homer and England, Mar. 2 - May 20, 2018 (Worcester, MA, Worcester Art Museum, Nov. 11, 2017 - Feb. 4, 2018).

Published References“The Artists’ Fund.” New York Times, January 4, 1885: p. 6.

"The Artists' Fund Society. Twenty-fifth Annual Exhibition." New York Daily Tribune, January 5, 1885: p. 5.

“Art Notes and News.” The Art Interchange 14 (January 15, 1885): p. 13 [as The Salmon Net].

Cikovsky, Nicolai Jr., and Franklin Kelly. Winslow Homer. Exh. cat. New Haven and London: Yale University Press for the National Gallery of Art, 1995; p. 410.

Harrison, Tony. Winslow Homer in England. Ocean Park, Maine: Hornby Editions, 1983, revised ed. 2004; p. 107, no. E103, reproduced [as The Salmon Net].

Goodrich, Lloyd. Record of Works by Winslow Homer. Edited and expanded by Abigail Booth Gerdts, 6 vols. New York: The Goodrich-Homer Art Education Project, 2012; Vol. IV.2, cat. no. 1221, pp. 276-277. reproduced p. 276.

Athens, Elizabeth, et al. Coming Away: Winslow Homer & Enland. Exh. Cat. Wocester: Worcester Art Museum, 2017; p. 133, reproduced pl. 51.

Seattle Art Museum respectfully acknowledges that we are on Indigenous land, the traditional territories of the Coast Salish people. We honor our ongoing connection to these communities past, present, and future.

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