Hark! The Lark

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Winslow Homer (American, 1836–1910)
Hark! The Lark, 1882
Oil on canvas
36 3/8 × 31 3/8 in. (92.39 × 79.69 cm)
Layton Art Collection, Gift of Frederick Layton L99
Photo credit John R. Glembin
Currently on View

The great American artist Winslow Homer considered Hark! the Lark his most significant work from a series he painted in the English North Sea village of Cullercoats. In his mid-40s and already well established, Homer sought new artistic inspiration among the fisherwomen of this region and the resulting work marked a watershed in his career. Although the title indicates that the women have paused to hear a bird, their postures and expressions suggest a wary optimism as they look out to sea. Sculptural, even monolithic in their unity, they resonate with the courage and stoicism that mark Homer’s women who wait on shore for the return of their husbands and sons. On a sketch for this painting, Homer wrote: “Hark, hark! the lark at heaven’s gate sings/And Phoebus ’gins arise”—Shakespeare’s poetic nod to sunrise from Cymbeline.

This information is subject to change as the result of ongoing research.