Maine attraction: Winslow Homer House is open to the public

Winslow Homer’s paintings ranged from sweeping Civil War battle scenes to contemplative portraits. Still, he’s perhaps best known for the thrillingly dramatic seascapes he committed to canvas over his later years. Most of these portray the turbulent Maine coastline along the peninsula of Prout’s Neck, as seen from the carriage house he began using as his studio in 1883. Located just 75 feet from the shore, the modest but charmingly rustic structure remained in Homer’s family after his death in 1910. A few years back, it was acquired by the Portland Museum of Art, which opened it to the public this month after an extensive renovation. Only a few of Homer’s artifacts remain—including a witty sign with which the artist warned off nosy trespassers by announcing that there were snakes and mice nearby. But the building is infused with the artist’s spirit: stand on the second-story balcony and you can see the rolling waves crash upon the land, just as Homer did. To celebrate the opening of the studio, the museum has organized Weatherbeaten: Winslow Homer and Maine, a thoughtful exhibition that includes many of his Prout’s Neck scenes, on view until December 30.

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