The Graduate Center - City University of New York

Weaning the Calf.

While most commentaries on this 1875 painting describe its bucolic aspects, Peter Wood and Karen Dalton in their 1988 study Winslow Homer's Images of Blacks argue that Homer's picture offers a rich narrative about race relations in Reconstruction-era America. In Wood's and Dalton's view, Homer’s experience as a pictorial news illustrator taught him to address complex political and social issues in a nonpolemical fashion. In this case, a quaint scene showing a young African American struggling on his own with no assistance from two observing white boys may represent the difficult and uncertain future freedpeople faced in the postwar South.

Creator: Winslow Homer

Date: 1875

Source: North Carolina Museum of Art