Winslow Homer (1836-1910)
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Winslow Homer (1836-1910)

Two Trout

Winslow Homer (1836-1910)
Two Trout
signed, dated and inscribed 'To J. Ernest Yalden/with compts of Winslow Homer/1891' (lower right)
watercolor and pencil on paper
20 x 14 in. (50.8 x 35.6 cm.)
Executed in 1891.
The artist.
J. Ernest Grant Yalden, Leonia, New Jersey, gift from the above, 1891.
Mrs. J. Ernest Grant Yalden, Leonia, New Jersey, 1937.
[With]Ferargil Gallery, New York, by 1940.
Oliver B. James, New York, 1940.
[With]Wildenstein & Co., New York, 1959.
Acquired by the late owners from the above, 1959.
J. Barnitz, et al., The David and Peggy Rockefeller Collection: Art of the Western Hemisphere, vol. II, New York, 1988, pp. 43-44, no. 14, illustrated.
T. Bolton, "Water Colors by Homer: Critique and Catalogue," The Fine Arts, vol. XVIII, April 1932, p. 52.
Adirondack Museum, Winslow Homer in the Adirondacks, exhibition catalogue, Blue Mountain Lake, New York, 1959, p. 25.
L. Goodrich, A.B. Gerdts, Record of Works by Winslow Homer: 1890 through 1910, vol. V, New York, 2014, p. 96, no. 1465, illustrated.
Wallington, Connecticut, The Choate School, January 3-February 1, 1965.
San Francisco, California, Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco; Fort Worth, Texas, Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Casting A Spell: Winslow Homer, Artist and Angler, December 7, 2002-June 22, 2003, no. 22.
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Lot Essay

Winslow Homer once proclaimed to a friend, "You will see, in the future I will live by my watercolors," and indeed, since their execution, the artist's watercolors have ranked among the greatest and most enduring achievements in American art. Helen Cooper writes, "Executed over a period of more than thirty years, between 1873 and 1905, these works are unsurpassed for their direct statement, luminosity, and economy of means…The liquid pigment called forth in him a private and poetic vision that otherwise found no place in his art." (as quoted in H. Cooper, Winslow Homer Watercolors, New Haven, 1986, p. 16)

Chief among Homer’s efforts in watercolor are his depictions of sporting endeavors, including hunting and fishing. As a fervent angler and great friend to many professional guides and sportsmen, Homer’s work benefited from his first-hand knowledge of his subject. Beyond their beauty as artistic accomplishments, sporting pictures such as Two Trout have been equally celebrated for their honesty and accuracy. This quality is not limited solely to the precision of their depiction, including the details of the fish and tackle, but more importantly extends to the ethereal feeling that comes along with sporting endeavors. His celebrated renderings of trout fishing in the Great North Woods of the Adirondack Mountains and Quebec, Canada, as well as his tropical fishing adventures in Florida, have become instantly recognizable and widely acclaimed for this poignant quality.

While Homer painted most of his sporting watercolors for a larger audience of passionate anglers, the painter also reserved a select few of his works for his closest friends and adventure guides. These gifts often served as mementos of a specific trip or shared experience. The present work was one such gift, presented to Homer’s friend and fellow member of the Adirondack Preserve Association, Ernest Yalden. Rendered with both exceptional detail and broader artistic stroke, Two Trout exhibits Homer’s unmatched skill with watercolor as well as his unique ability to capture the underlying spirit of his sporting subjects.

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