Crossing the Pasture
Oil on canvas
26 1/4 x 38 in.
on stretcher: Milch #17577
u.l., label: WHITNEY MUSEUM OF AMERICAN ART \ 945 Madison Avenue, New York. N.Y. 10021 \ Artist Winslow Homer \ Title Crossing the Pasture \ Date 1872 Catalogue No. 18 \ Lender Andrew Hunter \ Exhibition Winslow Homer \ April 3-June 3, 1959
u.l., label: PAINTING BY AMERICAN ARTISTS \ WILLIAM MACBETH \ INCORPORATED \ 11 EAST 57TH STREET NEW YORK 22, N. Y. \ CROSSING THE FIELDS \ BY \ WINSLOW HOMER
u.r., label: No. 11 \ W. S. BUDWORTH & SON \ PACKERS & SHIPPERS \ 424 WEST 52D ST., NEW YORK, N. Y.
Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas
Homer initially earned his living as a Civil War correspondent, witnessing the horrors of battle. After the war, the public desired pictures and stories of simple rural childhood as a break from scenes of violence.
Crossing the Pasture was probably inspired by this appetite for nostalgia, but it is also a reflection of the artist’s memories of his youth with his brothers. The wholesome country boys are an idealization of brotherhood, the older one standing protectively between the alert bull and his younger sibling. The smaller boy’s bare feet symbolize closeness to nature, making him appear more innocent. Standing together against the verdant hills, the boys serve as redemptive symbols of hope for the country’s united future after a war that had pitted brother against brother.