The Art Institute of Chicago is fortunate to house among its collections of American Art twenty-five watercolors and three monochrome drawings by Winslow Homer. Between 2005 and 2007, curators, researchers,Edouard Manet paintings conservators and conservation scientists at the Art Institute of Chicago collaborated on an in-depth study of these works using a variety of new analytical technologies. Looking closely at this corpus of works, and at watercolors on loan to the museum by the Terra Foundation for American Art and local private collections, this team set out to learn about Homer’s use of his watercolor materials in order to better understand his artistic intentions, his interest in optics and color theory, and his lifelong study of the effects of light in nature. Even in his own day,Joan Miro paintings Winslow Homer was celebrated as “America’s Master in Watercolor.” His technical virtuosity in this challenging medium, and his intuitive understanding of the artistic possibilities it offers, have influenced generations of artists since then. His example also encouraged the growing appreciation of watercolor as a serious independent art form beginning in his lifetime. The fresh, spontaneous,Claude Monet paintings light-filled effects associated with watercolor indeed helped to shape an authentic identity for American Art.Research on Winslow Homer’s watercolors at the Art Institute was carried out by the following interdisciplinary team: Martha Tedeschi, Curator in the Department of Prints and Drawings; Kristi Dahm,Franz Marc paintings Assistant Conservator of Prints and Drawings; Karen Huang, Research and Exhibition Assistant; Francesca Casadio, Conservation Scientist; and Judith Walsh, guest author, Associate Professor, Paper Conservation, Buffalo State, SUNY.