Homer Ransford Watson
Near the Close of a Stormy Day, 1884
oil on canvas
96.5 x 142.6 cm
Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery; Gift of Lt. Col. H.F. Osler
Largely self-taught, by the 1880s Homer Watson was sought by major patrons across Canada and internationally, including Queen Victoria and author Oscar Wilde, who acclaimed him as the “Canadian Constable.” While Near the Close of a Stormy Day exhibits a somewhat brooding atmosphere and suggests a threatening distant wilderness, the dread of nature is mitigated by the pastoral foreground and calming palette of greens, browns, and golds. The varying juxtaposition of uncontrollable natural forces and human endeavour was a popular theme within the romantic landscape painting tradition of Europe and the United States. However, Watson was one of the first to celebrate the Canadian landscape, specifically the region around Kitchener in southern Ontario, as an artistically viable subject matter.