Twelve significant works by American painter Winslow Homer have been gifted to the Portland Museum of Art (PMA) in Maine. The Berger Collection Educational Trust (BCET) made the donation in honor of the institution’s efforts to preserve the historic Winslow Homer Studio, which sits on the rocky coastline of Prout’s Neck, Maine. The residence where Homer lived and worked until his death in 1910 became an important part of the museum’s campus after it purchased the structure from the artist’s family in 2006.
Highlights of the gift include Returning from the Spring, 1874, and Young Farmers (Study for Weaning the Calf), 1873–74. These pieces and other works from this gift, mostly oil and watercolor paintings, are on view in the museum’s art study room. “We are excited to welcome these works of art back to Maine,” PMA director Mark H.C. Bessire said in a statement. “There is no better home for the works of Winslow Homer than in the region that meant so much to him. The gift is especially meaningful given the Berger family’s deep connection and philanthropy at the Portland Museum of Art, the Winslow Homer Studio, and the Prout’s Neck community.”
Housed at the Denver Museum of Art, the Berger Collection is a major private collection, largely of British art. Mostly known for his maritime and landscape works that were inspired by his life in the Northeast, Homer moved to Maine, where he painted many of his most notable pieces.