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The Fog Warning

Winslow Homer1885

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Inspired by Homer's 1884 trip to the Grand Banks fishing grounds, "The Fog Warning" is one of a series in which the artist depicted the difficult lives of New England sailors and their families. Here, a fisherman, having caught two large halibut, faces his hardest task-the return to the main ship with a laden boat. He looks at the horizon and realizes that he is far from his mother ship in increasingly ominous weather. A dangerous fog bank is approaching, its ragged streamers mimicking the diagonal of the dory and the weathered profile of the fisherman. Should he throw out the fish to make his boat lighter and increase his chances of survival? Homer does not specify the fisherman's fate, leaving the viewer to wonder if he survives the storm with his catch intact.

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