Maine museum receives gift of Winslow Homer drawing

Winslow Homer (American, 1836-1910), ‘Untitled,’ aka ‘The Rescue Party,’ circa 1890s, graphite on paper, 5 ¼ by 8 ¼in. Gift of Helen and Michael Horn, 2022.

Winslow Homer (American, 1836-1910), ‘Untitled,’ aka ‘The Rescue Party,’ circa 1890s graphite on paper, 5 ¼ by 8 ¼in. Gift of Helen and Michael Horn, 2022.

OGUNQUIT, Maine – The Ogunquit Museum of American Art (OMAA) has received a gift of a drawing by Winslow Homer, Untitled, referred to as The Rescue Party. This is the first drawing by the artist to enter the collection at OMAA. The work was donated by longtime supporters Helen and Michael Horn.

“I always loved collecting old things, things with a history, an attractive patina, or some age to them,” said Helen Horn. “This Homer drawing had been in my family for several generations – about 70 years. It was obvious that the Ogunquit Museum of American Art would make the perfect home for a drawing of the seacoast by an early Maine artist. My husband and I could not think of a more fitting institution for it.”

The small but dramatic drawing shows three groups of men in heavy weather gear approaching rescue boats. Working along a rocky beach, they leave footprints in the wet sand. Beyond them choppy surf breaks, and in the distance, beneath an ominous sky rendered in heavy strokes, a masted ship lies stranded at a perilous angle. Their high boots, Sou’wester hats and slickers suggest the U.S. Life-Saving Service, the predecessor to the Coast Guard, which was a frequent subject in Homer’s work.

Retaining the uneven edges of a page cut from a sketchbook, ghostly images of erased figures, and slashes of pencil directing the flow of the action, this work provides valuable insight on Homer’s creative process as he reworks the scene to infuse the composition with the desired mood.

“This gift from the Horn family is monumental for the museum as it experiences a growth stage,” said Executive Director of Ogunquit Museum of American Art Amanda Lahikainen, PhD. “We are honored that the Horns consider the museum the right home for this work, and we are excited to share Homer’s drawing with visitors this summer.”

The Rescue Party made its debut at the Ogunquit Museum of American Art when it opened for the season on Sunday, May 1.

Visit the website of the Ogunquit Museum of American Art (OMAA).