Breezing Up, 1876 by Winslow Homer
Breezing Up was the capstone of Homer's Gloucester paintings, his most popular painting since Prisoners from the Front, and so compellingly attractive that his critics, as they were seldom at this time willing to do, forgave the coarseness and abbreviation of style that, even here, they could not entirely pass by without comment.
The finished work indicates that the significant influence of Japanese art on Western painters in the 19th century also touched Homer, particularly in the compositional balance between the left (active) and right (sparse) halves. Homer had visited France in
1866 and 1867, and the influence of marine scenes by the French painters Gustave Courbet and Claude Monet is apparent as well.
Today, Breezing Up is considered an iconic American painting, and among Homer's finest. The National Gallery of Art purchased the work in 1943, described by the institution's web site as "one of the best-known and most beloved artistic images of life in nineteenth-century America."