"I think people should have more photos of themselves as children around. There's no way you can hate that version of yourself." -- Warsan Shire

Sunday, June 12, 2022

Past Is Present

     My wife and I took a trip up to New York City to go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. We wanted to see the exhibit of Winslow Homer paintings.

     I honestly didn't know much about Winslow Homer, except for his famous painting called "The Gulf Stream" which depicts a black man stranded in a boat surrounded by sharks.

     Homer, born in Boston in 1836, began his artistic career as a magazine illustrator, then went on to paint powerful scenes from the Civil War. He was able to capture the emotional struggle of both the enslaved people . . . 

"Near Andersonville" (1865-66) -- Black woman in a door
with Confederate soldiers in the background

     . . . as well as common soldiers on both sides of the battlefield.

"Prisoners from the Front" (1866) -- Union Army officer with four captured Confederates

     After the war he turned his artistic eye to the struggles found at sea. He moved to the Maine coast in 1883 and spent most of the rest of his life (he died in 1910) chronicling the energy, the wrath and the threat of the ocean.

"The Life Line" (1884) -- Inspired by a rescue Homer witnessed in Atlantic City, NJ

     He also voyaged down to southern climes, painting scenes in Bermuda, the Bahamas and Key West, Florida.

"Flower Garden and Bungalow" (1899) -- Watercolor of picturesque landscape in Bermuda

     But he always returned to the sea for his most inspired works.

"The Gulf Stream" (1899) -- Black man faces sharks in turbulent waters

     We ourselves were inspired by Manhattan -- first from the roof of the museum . . . 

View from Metropolitan Museum, looking south down Central Park and the East Side

     ... and then by the view from our hotel in Jersey City, NJ, just an eight-minute ferry ride across the Hudson River from downtown Manhattan.

Looking at Manhattan from our hotel restaurant where we had brunch

     Note to fellow travelers. The Winslow Homer exhibit is open until the end of July, alongside all the other artistic and historical offerings at the Metropolitan Museum. (Masks are required.)

     Yes, prices have gone up. We were shocked by how much we had to pay for our hotel room (over $300) . . . which is why we stayed only one night, in Jersey City, because prices are higher still if you stay in Manhattan. (We saw a report while we were there:  median rent for an apartment in Manhattan is now $4,000 per month.)

     We've already booked a trip to Wisconsin, to see my daughter. Fortunately, we made reservations a while ago, when prices were still semi-reasonable. But (gulp!) we're still going to have to pay over $5 a gallon for the gasoline to get there.

     It seems if you're going to travel these days, you really, really have to want to go there. We're glad we were able to visit New York City. But we're probably not going back anytime soon. We've got credit card bills to pay!


Rian said...

Sounds like you had a really nice traveling experience - despite the costs. Loved your pics! We actually took a short weekend trip ourselves for the first time since Covid. It was only to Houston to visit DH's brother and his wife, but it was very enjoyable. We sat, ate, talked, etc. - something we've missed for these last 2 1/2 years (even ate out at a restaurant a few times).

Arkansas Patti said...

Sad to say I was not familiar with Winslow Homer but hope to correct that as my family came from the Bahamas and Key West. That Gulf Stream painting was a scary and stark painting.
Sorry everything was so expensive but glad you got to enjoy the viewing.

gigi-hawaii said...

I am not familiar with Homer's art, but what you showed is very nice. However, rocky surf makes me motion sick so I wouldn't hang it in my home. LOL. I loved NYC when I was there (1970-1975). Miss it a lot.

Thanks for your comment. I found in spam. Gigi Hawaii

Janette said...

Homer is a favorite. I saw a number of his pieces in Maine and the Man surrounded by Sharks at the Met. I wondered if he did Gulf Stream to depict how the blacks were treated in the North after the war.
I have done a fair amount of travel. I just got back from Baltimore to visit my grands. $740 round trip on two red eyes! National Gallery for a day of seeing “old friends”. We also did a band concert and watched the Blue Angels. Crowds were less then minimal. DC is very quiet still- except protesters.
.My daughter told me of taking her six year old to the book store for the first time in two years. It was at the mall. They got there and she ask, “Mommy, what IS this place? “ “A book store?” “No, this really big place?” “The mall?” “What is a mall, Mom?” The tight lock down states really really screwed up their society…and their babies will have a learning gap like no other. My daughter says that the kids are so far behind in school (she volunteers) it is scary. Twisted.

Rita said...

Great report. I didn't know about Winslow Homer's work. I'd like to see more of his paintings of the Civil War.

I'm glad the museum required masks. It's scary to be out there with almost the restrictions being removed. It's far too soon in my opinion.

Jennifer (UnfoldAndBegin) said...

Being able to take a day trip to a museum in NYC is something that I really do miss now that I'm living in Florida.

Tom said...

Gigi -- Spam ... really? Maybe we all ought to look in our spam folders every once in a while to see what we're missing. I did notice that New Yorkers in general mask up more than people around where I am in PA (and not to be racial about it, but esp. the Asians). Are they more careful? Smarter? Have more restrictions? I don't know. May we all be well.

Tabor said...

Wow, wondering how this inflation is going to impact all the stores after the problems with COVID. Definitely a recession on the horizon.

Laurie Stone said...

What powerful paintings, always about human struggle. You get pulled into them. Staying in Jersey City is a good idea. I hear some Manhattan hotels don't offer daily housekeeping anymore because of staffing problems and yet charge the same high prices. Crazy times.

Rebecca Olkowski said...

That inspired me to learn more about Winslow Homer. His life sounds fascinating. The Met is too far for me to pop in but thanks for the images.

Miss Merry said...

What an amazing exhibit! I will be googling Winslow Homer. We are driving from Ohio to Nebraska for my daughter's college graduation this summer. I don't care about gas prices. Look at what I saved during lock down. And who is to say we won't be locked down again in a few years.

Wisewebwoman said...

Love those paintings Tom, I'm a junkie for seascapes, especially that one of the rescue. Incredible capture of fear and threat.

Travel is a super luxury now, I'm still on shock at hotel costs.


Barbara said...

What a great opportunity to see a collection of Winslow Homer. I love the Black Man and the Sharks. It caught such a scary moment. I'm not much for road trips anymore. It seems like one of those things that when you stop doing them for a while, it is hard to get back into it.