Army Teamsters (Primary Title)

Winslow Homer, American, 1836 - 1910 (Artist)

oil on canvas
Unframed: 18 × 28 1/2 in. (45.72 × 72.39 cm)
Framed: 28 1/2 × 39 in. (72.39 × 99.06 cm)
Not on view

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.

Signed, lower left: Homer 66
Paul Mellon Collection
2018 - 2020: On loan to Chrysler Museum of Art, permanent galleries, April 3, 2018 - March 31, 2020

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.
Image released via Creative Commons CC-BY-NC

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