Homer was born in Boston, Massachusetts on Febuary 24, 1836. Largely a self-taught artist, he was apprenticed to a lithographic firm in Boston at the age of 19. Initially, his work mimiced that of other design artists but within a few years Homer began submitting his own drawings, eventually becoming a regular contributor to Harper's Weekly. In 1859 he moved to New York and had the first exhibition of his paintings at the National Academy of Design. He painted scenes from the Civil War, the Pennsylvania countryside, the Hudson River Valley, and camping, fishing and hunting scenes of New England. In the 1870's Homer, who had worked primarily in oils, started to use watercolors, a medium which allowed him to produce rapid observations from nature. The Maine coastline and its fisherman became his primary subject matter in the 1880's. While appearing themematically simple on the surface, the marine subjects allowed him to illustrate the eteranl struggle between man and nature. During Homer's late years his paintings sold well and his compositions became more unconventional. He died in his studio in Prout's Neck, Maine on September 29, 1910. Homer is regarded as one of the greatest 19th century painters with works that display elements of realism and impressionism and always remained naturalistic.