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School of Winslow Homer

Medium:Oil on canvas
Size inches:39 1/2 x 32
Size cm:100.3 x 81.3
Signature:Signed and dated lower right and inscribed on the reverse.
Location:Private Collection, New York

The deceptively twinned upper and lower halves of Deem's dazzling School of Winslow Homer juxtapose differing versions of Homer's nostalgically remembered schoolroom. Deem's illusionistic "actual" schoolroom quotes Country School (1871) while his desk sketch loosely quotes New England Country School-- which Homer painted a year or two later, leaving out a few of the children ....This painting is one of Deem's most effective and exciting explorations of the schoolroom theme. His mirroring of the room in a monochromatic sketch is brilliant -- turning the drawing on the desk into a still, dark pool of reflective memory. The room itself has assumed a mirror-identity. The vanished children and schoolmistress in the twinned room sharpen our awareness of Homer's formal play of symmetry and asymmetry in the original paintings. ...Most vitally of all, Deem has transposed himself into this country schoolroom of Homer's -- since he is the unseen student whose hand has, in all truth, produced the sketch on the solitary desk. (Irene McManus, Introduction to Art School by George Deem, 1993, 2005).

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