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September 12th, 2012
Free Opening Week Admission to First Responders at Winslow Homer Exhibition

To celebrate Shipwreck! Winslow Homer and “The Life Line,” the Philadelphia Museum of Art offers free admission to first responders and their families during the opening week of the exhibition. Focusing on one of Homer’s greatest works, Shipwreck! explores the related themes of the exhilaration of ocean travel and disaster on the high seas and romantic rescue in the 19th century, setting these in the context of the rich tradition of marine painting.

Shipwreck! Winslow Homer and “The Life Line,” (September 22–December 16, 2012) includes a number of important paintings by Homer such as The Wreck of the Iron Crown (1881), The Life Line (1884), and Summer Squall (1904), and sets thesealongside outstanding examples of earlier marine paintings by the sixteenth century Flemish artist Bonaventura Peeters and the seventeenth century French artist Claude-Joseph Vernet. Also included from the 19th century are Currier & Ives prints and Tucker vases as well as rarely seen watercolors, prints, and drawings of this period.

The exhibition also includes a section on “Heroes of the Coastline: The Rise of the United States Life Saving Service,” which examines the historical context of Homer’s rescue scenes and tells the story of the successful reform of American coastal defenses, beginning with the establishment of the United States Life Saving Service in 1871. These improvements inspired many popular articles celebrating the brave “surf men” of the Coast Guard. Winslow Homer (1836-1910) was the first American painter to take up the subject of this new type of American hero. Often focusing on subjects based on the national experience, from the Civil War to iconic landscapes, Homer was an artist of power and individuality whose works clearly responded to the issues of the day, but also focused on the broader theme of man’s relationship of man to nature. This exhibition can only be seen at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Timothy Rub, the Museum’s George D. Widener Director and Chief Executive Officer, said, “Shipwreck! contains exceptional works demonstrating the timeless and uniquely American story of readiness, ingenuity, bravery and the indomitable human spirit. We honor a great American artist alongside the men and women today who risk their lives in order to save others in recognition of National Preparedness Month.”

Free admission to first responders is valid from September 22 to September 30, 2012. Members of Police, Fire, Life Safety, Coast Guard forces, and other services, should present identification at the Visitor Services desk in the Museum to receive their free admission on site, which is non-transferable. 

The Philadelphia Museum of Art, in association with Yale University Press, will publish a 132-page catalogue with 110 color plates and five black and white illustrations. Written by curator Kathleen A. Foster, Shipwreck! combines a close analysis of Homer’s masterpiece with an engaging look at historical images of disaster and rescue.It will be available in the Museum Store in paperback ($20). It also can be purchased by calling 1-800-329-4856, or online at ISBN: 978-0-87633-238-2.

The exhibition is made possible by The Mr. and Mrs. Raymond J. Horowitz Foundation for the Arts, and Mr. and Mrs. William C. Buck.  Additional support is provided by the Robert J. Kleberg, Jr. and Helen C. Kleberg Foundation and the Center for American Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.  Funding for the catalogue publication is generously provided by the Davenport Family Foundation and the Wyeth Foundation for American Art.

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Exhibition Hours:
Tuesday through Sunday: 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
The exhibition will be closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day and open during normal hours on Columbus Day and New Year's Day.

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Twitter/Facebook/Instagram/Tumblr/YouTube: @philamuseum

We are Philadelphia’s art museum. A landmark building. A world-renowned collection. A place that welcomes everyone. We bring the arts to life, inspiring visitors—through scholarly study and creative play—to discover the spirit of imagination that lies in everyone. We connect people with the arts in rich and varied ways, making the experience of the Museum surprising, lively, and always memorable. We are committed to inviting visitors to see the world—and themselves—anew through the beauty and expressive power of the arts.

For additional information, contact the Communications Department of the Philadelphia Museum of Art phone at 215-684-7860, by fax at 215-235-0050, or by e-mail at The Philadelphia Museum of Art is located on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway at 26th Street. For general information, call (215) 763-8100.

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