Lot 79
  • 79

Winslow Homer 1836 - 1910

400,000 - 600,000 USD
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  • Winslow Homer
  • The Return of the Gleaner
  • signed Winslow Homer and dated 1867, l.l.
  • oil on canvas
  • 24 by 18 in.
  • (61 by 45.7 cm)


Henry Schultheis Company, New York
Howard Young Galleries, New York, circa 1905
E.T. Webb, Webb City, Missouri, 1912
Howard Young Galleries, New York, 1919
Harry Jones, Kansas City, Missouri, circa 1919
Julia Jones Hubbell Lind, Greenwich, Connecticut (his daughter), 1937
Findlay Galleries, Kansas City, Missouri, circa 1938
E.C. Babcock Art Galleries, New York, 1939
Stephen C. Clark, New York, 1940
Wildenstein & Company, New York, 1946
Mr. and Mrs. Homer Strong, Rochester, New York, 1952
Strong Museum, Rochester, New York (bequest from above; sold: Christie's, New York, December 2, 2004, lot 22, illustrated in color)
Berry-Hill Galleries, New York


Andover, Massachusetts, Addison Gallery of American Art, Phillips Academy, American Paintings from the Collection of Stephen C. Clark, May 11-June 30, 1940, no. 3, illustrated
New York, Wildenstein & Company, A Loan Exhibition of Winslow Homer for the Benefit of the New York Botanical Garden, February 19-March 22, 1947, no. 8, illustrated
New York, Wildenstein & Company and traveling, Winslow Homer 1836-1910, Eastman Johnson 1824-1906, February 1949-May 1950, no. 3


Bartlett Hayes, "Collection of U.S. Painting, 1845-1929," Art News, June 1, 1940, p. 10
Forbes Watson, Winslow Homer, New York, 1942, p. 104, illustrated
John Wilmerding, Winslow Homer, New York, 1972, p. 50
Gordon Hendricks, The Life and Work of Winslow Homer, New York, no. CL537, pp. 284, 317, illustrated
Henry Adams, "Winslow Homer's 'Impressionism' and Its Relation to His Trip to France," Winslow Homer: A Symposium, Washington, D.C., 1990, pp. 68, 83
Nicolai Cikovsky, Jr. and Franklin Kelly, Winslow Homer, Washington, D.C., 1995, p. 33, illustrated
Lloyd Goodrich and Abigail Booth Gerdts, Record of Works by Winslow Homer, Volume II: 1867 through 1876, New York, 2005, no. 316, p. 62, illustrated


Very good condition; under UV: a couple of tiny pin dots of retouching, otherwise fine.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.

Catalogue Note

The Return of the Gleaner is one of nineteen paintings Winslow Homer executed during a trip to France between 1866-67. The outbreak of the Civil War had prevented Homer from studying abroad as a young artist; consequently, he developed his personal style as an illustrator and war correspondent, making his mark with images such as The Sharpshooter on Picket Duty (1863, Portland Museum of Art, Maine). By the time he finally reached France in late 1866, he had already mastered the concepts of composition and color, and his French counterparts exercised minimal stylistic influence on him in these areas. However, he did respond to the Barbizon painters' economy of detail. He had been introduced to the Barbizon style by his friend and fellow artist William Morris Hunt in Boston before his trip to France. Homer already shared the Barbizon school's interest in agricultural subject matter, as evident in works such as The Veteran in a New Field (1865, Metropolitan Museum of Art), which depicts a former soldier, home from the battlefront, scything wheat. Once abroad, Homer continued to explore similar subject matter at the village of Cernay-la-Ville in Picardy, a favorite rural community of both Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot and Charles Daubigny. While there, he painted The Return of the Gleaner, which bears a striking resemblance to Veteran in a New Field, notably in the color palette and the banded composition of earth, wheat and sky. The subject of a peasant, rather than a soldier turned farmer, references the Barbizon master Jean-Francois Millet, best known for his romantic depictions of peasants at work in the fields.  Homer's figure stands stoically under the weight of her pitchfork, as she looks into the distance in serious contemplation, an expression that appears again on the hard-working Cullercoats women he painted in the early 1880s.  Henry Adams has written that "in [the Barbizon's] work [Homer] first discovered the subject of man against nature that would occupy him for the final half of his career, a theme he eventually transposed from the French farmyard to the open sea and the American wilderness" ("Winslow Homer's 'Impressionism' and its Relation to His Trip to France," Winslow Homer: A Symposium, 1990, p. 80-1).