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1860 Winslow Homer Framed Wood Engraving

"Skating on the Ladies' Skating-Pond in the Central Park, New York"

This is how New Yorkers had fun in 1860 in Central Park. Winslow Homer loved skating scenes and as noted by an expert on his engravings, this is one of his best,

Two engravings stand out for qualities which predict more mature things to come...Skating on the Ladies' Skating-Pond in the Central Park, New York is the epitome of the type of pleasant, graceful, out-of-door activity which Homer represented well and will relish just before and after he moved to Manhattan. Despite the crowded composition it is clearly organized and conveys a new strength, possibly inspired by his reaction to the big city. It is not a coincidence that Homer used a skating since in his first important watercolor, Skating in the Central Park of the same year, 1860. Skating was, then and later, one of his favorite subjects. Now in the City Art Museum at St. Louis, it was the first painting he exhibited at the National Academy (in the spring of 1860).

"Winslow Homer's Magazine Engravings," Philip C. Beam, New York, 1979, at pp. 12-13.

The author of "The Life and Work of Winslow Homer," Gordon Hendricks (New York, 1979) also thinks well of this work, featuring the engraving on page 41 and after criticizing one of Homer's works says,

"But in a winter scene of January 28 Homer reached a fine climax of design and grace with "Skating on the Ladies' Skating-Pond."

This wonderful print provides a very early look at the landscape architecture masterpiece of Frederick Law Olmstead and Calvert Vaux, Central Park in New York City. This view of Central Park was published in January, 1860, very early in the park's development and before the one we are offering that was published in September of 1860.

 According to Olmsted, the park was "of great importance as the first real Park made in this century a democratic development of the highest significance..."  The design of Olmstead and Vaux won the open competition in 1857 and the Park was not officially opened until 1873, so this engraving shows very much the start of the process of park development rather than the end.

The publisher based in New York City provides a description of the park published in September that is full of civic pride. It says the two page engraving is

"Our Park, which is progressing very satisfactorily under the management of the Commissioners, will undoubtedly be, one of these days, one of the finest place of the kind in the world...Those who saw the Park before the engineers went to work on it are amazed at the beautiful sites which have been contrived with such unpromising materials; all fair persons believe that the enterprise is managed with honesty and good taste."

Below are two close-up pictures of the engraving, the first showing Homer's signature in the bottom left corner and the next the figures in the center of the engraving.

The engraving is matted, framed and glazed in Plexiglas, ready to hang on your wall. It is a charming picture of early New York and its most famous Central Park before it was dedicated.

Price: $200

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