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About the Artwork

Unlike most of his contemporaries, Winslow Homer did not have academic training in Paris, and he also remained aloof from Impressionist and various other artistic trends. However, his personal interest in recreational hunting and fishing and in natural scenery coincided with the growing nostalgia for the American wilderness and rural life that accompanied the increasing urbanization of the United States in the late nineteenth century, and Homer became one of the period's most popular and successful artists. Based upon studies he had made during fishing trips to the Adirondacks, Huntsman and Dogs is characteristic of his unsentimental view of the conflict of humans and animals in a vast, overwhelmingly powerful natural world. In this overcast, late autumn landscape, only the hunter and his dogs are alive. All else is dead, the result of the inexorable working of the seasons and the depredations of humankind. The energetic movement of the barking dogs emphasizes both the hunter's isolation and his kinship with the silent, immutable landscape. Darrel Sewell, from Philadelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections (1995), p. 291

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