For the first time, the DCA’s Art Lecture Series will be focusing on only one artist this fall, Winslow Homer, largely considered to be the finest American painter of the nineteenth century.  Over the course of four consecutive Thursdays in October, functioning in the shape of a symposium, attendees will gain new perspectives on this quintessentially American artist.   Shaped by his New England roots, with no formal training as an artist, he represented in his watercolors and paintings distinctively American traits — a celebration of youth, endurance, and the out-of-doors that represented the culmination of the nineteenth century reverence for the physical and moral force of nature.  The sea was a source of profound inspiration for him.  Including visits to his brother, Charles Homer, who lived in Darien, he spent the last three decades of his life retired to his Prout’s Neck, Maine studio.  There he focused on the constantly changing views of the ocean, vistas that became transformed into works of art that continue to captivate over a century later.

Homer, deeply private about his personal life and interiority, purposely chose not to elucidate or articulate either his “meaning” or broader stratagems in the creation of his art.  The observer must rely on his own direct observations of the work itself.  The DCA’s “Homer Symposium” presents an opportunity to develop understandings of this artist beyond current familiarity, to a level of close looking in the galleries that will elevate appreciation through four lectures by some of the most noted Homer scholars, curators and art historians.  All of whom have spent decades focusing on the artist in gallery shows, publications and his place in the broader oeuvre of American art.

The first lecture in the series, on Oct. 5, will be given by Kevin M. Murphy, the Eugenie Prendergast Curator of American Art at the Williams College Museum of Art.  The Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, MA has an extensive collection of Homer art work —  in addition to being the first American art curator at the “Crystal Bridges Museum of Art” in Arkansas, assisting Alice Walton in the creation of this new and comprehensive American art museum in the United States, he has done research on the artist and his responses to the exigencies of the commercial marketplace of dealers and collectors. “Painting for Money: Winslow Homer as Entrepreneur” will address how the economics impacted the creation of the art that became the masterpieces.

On Oct. 12, Susan Faxon, Associate Director of the Addison Gallery of American Art at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts will give a lecture focusing on the four paintings in their collection, most notably the seascape with figures, Eight Bells.  

On Oct. 19, Marc Simpson, Homer scholar, American art historian, will be sharing his acute observations, noted for their poeticism and refinement on Winslow Homer.  

The last lecture in the series, on Oct. 26, will be given by Stephanie Herdrich, Curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  

All lectures begin at 11 a.m. , and will be followed by a prepared luncheon crafted by Diane Browne Catering.  The presenting sponsor of the series is Darien Rowayton Bank.

Series admission, including four lectures with gourmet luncheons, is $195, or $175 for DCA members and prepayment is required by noon on Friday, Sept. 29. Single lecture with luncheon admission is $55, or $50 for DCA members and prepayment is required for all lunch reservations by noon on the Friday preceding each lecture. Lecture only (without luncheon) is $25, or $20 for DCA members. Walk-ins welcome for lecture only, however, it is recommended that reservations and payment be made 24 hours in advance to assure a seat.  Register online through dariendca.org, or contact the DCA directly at info@dariendca.org or 203-655-9050 extension 10.  The DCA is located at 274 Middlesex Road in Darien.