Last week Wilmot Kidd, Kristin Kunc and I dropped in on the Metropolitan Museum of Art's exhibit "American Stories: Paintings of Everyday Life: 1765-1915". The exhibit is small and there are only a few real gems in it given the low state of American painting technique in the 18th and 19th centuries. I came out of the exhibit however with a new appreciation of Winslow Homer, whose "Veteran in a New Field" (1865) was one of my favorites in the show.
The composition is three horizontal stripes, the monolithic sky being incredibly abstract, the lone figure cutting through the three rectangular planes (sky, grains, ground) just as he cuts through the grains with his long scythe. I liked the handling of the white shirt, which is painted incredibly thickly, which Kristin pointed out had to be the case given that the artist was painting with lead white.