Homer made hundreds of drawings during his career. Many were created as part of the wood engraving process and were destroyed when the woodblocks were cut and later planed down for reuse. Many others were made as sketches and pictorial notes. Beginning in the 1870s, however, in response to collector interest and exhibition opportunities, Homer created finished drawings that could be collected as works of art in their own right.

Critics delighted in them. One wrote in 1884: “These simple studies in black and white are of more value as works of art than miles of canvas and paint.” Homer, however, approached the matter pragmatically. After 1885, although he continued to draw for study and pleasure, he stopped marketing finished exhibition drawings. He explained his withdrawal from this practice in 1887: “I have money in plenty.”

Fisher Girl with Net, 1882

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