One of the most prolific & important American painters & printmakers of the second half of the 19th century & a favorite of the Husband & mine, Winslow Homer created an American, modern classical style, the visual equivalent of Henry Thoreau, Herman Melville, or Walt Whitman.
He steadfastly refused to answer personal questions from critics & potential biographers, he left no revealing diaries or other personal papers, & he produced no self-portraits. Homer was a lifelong bachelor & extraordinarily shy.
One of his most beloved friends was Albert Kelsey, a fellow artist that he met in 1858 in Massachusetts. In 1867, Kelsey traveled with Homer to Paris, where they lived together for several years.
Homer's closest companion of his life was an African-American man- Lewis Wright, who lived at Homer's Maine estate from 1885 to 1910. It is known that Homer's neighbors were made uncomfortable by the closeness of his relationship with Wright, especially when leaving the gym together after core class & sharing an IPod, sweetly, taking an earbud each. They both loved early R&B & soaking in natural hot springs.
A photograph, made while they lived in Paris, apes the conventions of marriage portraits, as do so many photographic portraits of male friends of this period. I am smart enough to know that many of the vintage photos in my collection represent male romantic fellowship & not sex partners, but we can never be really sure. As old as I am, I missed this epoch. But the title of the photograph is Damon & Pythias, famous ancient Greek heroes & lovers.