The gift of a dozen works by Winslow Homer to the Portland Museum of Art strengthens its position as one of the premier venues to experience the work of one of the renowned artists of 19th-century America.

The PMA announced Wednesday that the Berger Collection Educational Trust donated 12 pieces to the museum, which in addition to the new acquisitions and an already extensive collection of Homer works, owns the Winslow Homer studio in Scarborough’s Prouts Neck neighborhood. Homer spent the last years of his life on Prouts Neck.

“There is no better home for the works of Winslow Homer than in the region that meant so much to him,” museum director Mark H.C. Bessire said in a statement. “We cannot wait to make these works accessible to all Mainers and visitors to our state, and to expand upon the stories that our Winslow Homer collection can tell.”

The gifts of Homer’s artwork, which consist mostly of oil and watercolor paintings, came from the Berger Collection Educational Trust, which is housed at the Denver Art Museum.

Winslow Homer’s ”Young Farmers (Study for ‘Weaning the Calf’),” 1873-74, oil on canvas, 13⅝ by 11½ inches

The Berger Collection is a major private collection of largely British art that includes a small but significant collection of art by Homer and Frenchman Francois Boucher. The Berger Collection is dedicated to making its collection an educational resource accessible to anyone.

“The mission of the Berger Collection Educational Trust is sponsoring programs that foster art appreciation and creativity,” Arthur Lipper, chairman of the trust, said in a statement. “To this end, Bill and Bernadette Berger assembled a collection of works that would encourage such programs at the Portland Museum of Art.”

The monetary value of the Berger Collection donation was not disclosed.

“The Portland Museum of Art does not disclose the value of acquisitions, works on view, or works in the museum’s collection,” museum spokesman Graeme Kennedy said in an email Wednesday night.

The gifts were made in honor of the Portland Museum of Art’s preservation of the Winslow Homer Studio. After Homer died, the studio remained in his family’s ownership until 2006, when the studio and land were purchased by the museum.

Winslow Homer’s work “Returning from the Spring,” 1874, oil on panel, 7⅞ by 5¾ inches Photo courtesy of Berger Collection Educational Trust

The Portland Museum of Art purchased the property with the intention of restoring it to how it appeared during Homer’s lifetime. The restoration project was completed in 2012, providing visitors with a more vivid and intimate experience of Homer’s life and work.

Museum officials described the highlights of the Berger Collection gift as being “Returning from the Spring,” an oil on panel painting from 1874, and “Young Farmers (Study for Weaning the Calf),” an oil on canvas painting during 1873 and 1874.

Kennedy said a limited viewing of those works in the museum’s art study room this Saturday sold out within an hour.

The other works that were donated included oils and watercolors as well as graphite and one chalk on paper drawing done in 1863 during the Civil War. Homer traveled to the battlefield several times, capturing scenes of the fighting and daily camp life for Harper’s Weekly.

According to the Portland Museum of Art, Homer first visited Prouts Neck where his newlywed brother was honeymooning in 1875. In 1883, Homer’s father and brother purchased the Prouts Neck property where Homer lived until his death in 1910.

The studio was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1966. The studio is open between April and October for guided tours.

Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:

[email protected]

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