Review Round Up: Winslow Homer: Force of Nature, National Gallery

We take a closer look at what critics have been saying about this latest exhibition at the National Gallery.

Winslow Homer’s The Gulf Stream. Photograph: Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

The Guardian: ***** “Homer can be a clumsy artist. Yet, for all the clunking moments, there is an intensity and passion that carries him through to his masterpiece. Some artists are born great; others have to work like hell for it. Homer lacks the natural brilliance of Turner. His work can be as deeply chromatic and wild as an Atlantic storm one minute and a bit dull the next. But he has a self-questioning toughness that finally, on the eve of the 20th century, enabled him to create The Gulf Stream, a vision of America that bites us now and won’t let go.”

Evening Standard: **** “The real surprise of the exhibition though are the pictures from England; he spent just a month in London and a whole year and a half in Northumbria, in the fishing village of Cullercoats on the North Sea. Apparently the place was a draw for artists and tourists, but it seems way less glamorous than the Breton villages where French impressionists painted. But from this unpropitious location, Homer derived some of his most striking work, with fisherwomen and lifeguards battling the elements. The Gale shows one tough nut striding along a windlashed beach with an infant strapped to her back: he endows the working class with dignity without sentiment.”

The Telegraph: *** “The National Gallery’s major new show takes inspiration from Northumberland and New England alike – but its boyishness soon wears thin.”

The Burlington Magazine: “Like Sekula, who saw in Homer the ‘hidden brutality’ of extractive labour and empire, this exhibition presses its visitors to see anew the dislocation, violence and social misery that course through the artist’s work.”

The Times: *** “You can see why Homer was an American hero — and why he speaks to us more mutedly. This exhibition, a hit at the Met in New York, feels adrift in Trafalgar Square.”

Winslow Homer: Force of Nature is on display at the National Gallery until the 8th January 2023.

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