Dad's Coming! Winslow Homer

Dad’s Coming!: Winslow Homer

Dad’s Coming! is a genre oil on-panel painting by American artist Winslow Homer. It was painted in 1873 in the American Realist style. This work is located in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., United States.

Dad’s Coming! Analysis

Dad’s Coming! (1873) is a wood panel painting by Winslow Homer showing a young wife holding a small child while another sits on a beached boat nearby. They are clearly waiting, the title tells us, for the husband and the father of their family to return.

The familial trio is standing somewhere on the American shoreline, almost certainly on the East Coast as Homer was residing in Virginia and New England during the 1870s. The ‘dad’ who they are expecting is likely a mariner. We notice several sails on the horizon beyond, suggestive of a fleet returning to port.

The only face visible to us is that of the mother. Her pathos is the selfsame credible but restrained one of much of Homer’s work. She, therefore, seems to us a respectable young lady attending, with both herself and the two children dressed in genteel fashion, to a recognized social occasion, that of a husband’s return from out at sea.

Homer’s painting carries a warm tonality of orange in all of its parts, reminiscent of both dawns and sundowns, and transmitted from the sand and the rocks, over the child’s red-brick jacket, to the roseate hues invested in the cloud forms, particularly along the horizon line. The vividness of Homer’s palette is augmented by the contrast afforded by the surface of the sea, which ascends from the sea-green closer to the shore to a decided blue in the farthest distance.

Because of the presence of a longing woman, the painting evokes Homer’s compositions dealing with the experience of women in wartime. The longing woman is also to be found in his oeuvre as the embodiment of nostalgia, a sensation that the coloring of this particular picture strangely evokes.

Dad’s Coming! Location

This work is located in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., United States.

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