Army Teamsters (Primary Title)
Boston-born Winslow Homer began his career as a Harper’s Weekly “special artist” during America’s Civil War, spending two months with Union troops at the Virginia front during the 1862 siege of Yorktown. By war’s end, his paintings and engravings of army life had established his reputation as a leading artist.
In this work, four African American soldiers—army teamsters (muleteers)—relax during a break in the action, while a fifth peers out from their camp tent. Army supplies were transported by packs of mules usually driven by escaped or liberated slaves, who often faced mortal danger en route. However, Homer depicts this group in a moment of ease, reinforcing stereotypes for many viewers and revealing America’s ambivalent racial attitudes.
1990 "Winslow Homer", Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, CT
1988-1991 "Winslow Homer, Paintings of the Civil War, San Francisco, Portland, Fort Worth.
1961-1962 "The Civil War", CGA and MFA Boston.
1944 Museum of Modern Art.
Lloyd Goodrich, Record of Works by Winslow Homer Vol. I, 1846-1866 (New York: Spanierman Gallery, 2005) p. 357-358, cat. no. 283, b&w ill. p. 357.
John Wilmerding and Linda Ayres, et al, Winslow Homer in the 1870s exhibition catalogue (Princeton: Princeton University, 1990) pp. 29-33, cat. no. 2, color ill. p. 31.
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