Object Record

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Collection Museum of Fine Arts
Title Promenade on the Beach
Object ID MFA-36.06
Object Name Painting
Description In a letter to Springfield collector George Walter Vincent Smith, Homer identified the location of this scene as the "Eastern Shore at sunset," and assured Smith that the women were of "good moral character." Smith was helping Springfield resident Isaac Mills to buy the painting out of Springfield's Gill Gallery, where the work was on view in 1880 with its original title, By the Sea Side. While Homer frequently depicted fashionable women at the beach, this painting shows Homer's admiration of the flat space and asymmetry of Japanese art. As if to call attention to the general American craze for Japanese art, Homer had one of the women carry a Japanese fan.

From the "Sunday Republican" Treasures at the Quad, 2007-08:

The artist Winslow Homer responded to an inquiry about his beautiful 1880 painting with this tongue-in-cheek explanation: "My picture represents the Eastern shore at sunset. The long line from the girls is the shadow from the sun. (Homer here drew a simple map of the Massachusetts coast showing the two figures, the schooner and the sun with a line from it straight to the figures.) The Girls are 'somebody in particular' and I can vouch for their good moral character. They are looking at anything you wish to have them look at, but it must be something at sea & a very proper object for Girls to be interested in."
Artist HOMER, Winslow
Date 1880
Medium Oil on canvas
Dimensions H-20 W-30.125 inches
Credit line Gift of the Misses Emily and Elizabeth Mills in Memory of their parents, Mr. and Mrs. Isaac Mills
On Exhibit Yes, Michele and Donald D'Amour Museum of Fine Arts