Edward Hopper (VI) – “Portraits” of houses; oils and watercolours – 1912 to 1940

–As far as I know, Edward Hopper made 724 paintings (oils and watercolours) between 1893 and 1965. Among them, there is an ostensible majority of houses, railway stations, barns and lighthouses –many of them isolated, but also conforming views of streets, harbours and small villages. Seldom there is somebody to be seen around.

Most of these houses and barns and lights are located in the south of the northern tip of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, in an area known as the “Outer Cape”, and nowadays belonging to the Cape Cod National Seashore.

Edward Hopper first visited Cape Cod with his wife, Josephine Nivison, in 1930, renting a house in South Truro for three summers before building a home and studio there in 1934. The couple began to spend six months in the area almost every year, and Hopper found an abundance of subject matter in the unassuming homes and buildings that populated the peninsula as well as the sandy dunes and crystalline light that give South Truro its distinct character.

Over the decades, as his work developed, Hopper returned each year to this simplicity: old wooden houses in an open landscape of beach, heath, bearberry, woodlot and dune grass. His canvases –most of them from middle to small size (less than 100 cm. in their larger dimension)– are often “house-portraits”, but sometimes, also notable for the openness of the landscape even when the houses, or other buildings, dominate the vista.

Artists and art experts use to say that more than landscape and buildings, Hopper painted the Outer Cape’s ineffable light. “The light here has color,” said Rob DuToit, a landscape painter who has been living in Truro since 22 years ago. “Blues are more blue, reds are more red. It’s similar to the south of France: the luminosity is so refractive; sea and sky mirror one another.”

I would add that, besides that light, he painted solitude –even if it came rather more out of their own mind and spirit than of the places themselves; and the proof is that any of his better known New York paintings hold the same solitude; if not more, in several instances–.

Other places in New England, away from Cape Cod, where Hopper spent time painting are Gloucester and Cape Ann, Massachusetts; Ogunquit, Cape Elizabeth and Monhegan Island, Maine (in his early years); and a few locations in New Hampshire and Vermont –aside, of course, of New York City.

In this sixth post of mine about the great American painter, I am showing seventeen oils, on canvas or panel, and twenty-four watercolours, on paper and mostly over graphite, roughly in chronological order and spanning almost three decades of work, from 1912 to 1940. Only the last six in my selection –all of them oils– are bigger than one meter in their longer side; the watercolours use to be half this size, or less; the biggest ones being some 71 cm. wide.

Except in a couple of cases, I have not selected boats or scenes of navigation, which I leave for a future post. And I have left completely aside, for the next post, the several lighthouses the artist painted once and again –and which, perhaps, constitute the best known and characteristic (if not the worthiest) portion of his work.

So, here you will see a few seascapes, diverse barns, cabins, churches, stations and buildings by the railroads, and a long succession of plain houses, including all of those where the Hoppers lived in. (All locations are these mentioned above except for one watercolour painted in Charleston, South Carolina, and the oil “Railroad Sunset” –which is a recalled image seen from a train wagon during the same travel to the south–, both from 1929.)

At the bottom, I will include a complete list of the paintings shown, with all details, measurements, etc, available to me, and the locations where they are kept and, in many cases, exhibited. (I regret this list is still in progress at the time of publishing this post.)


Gallery

[You may click on any picture to see it in more detail]

 

 

 

 

 


 


You may find my five earlier posts on Edward Hopper through the following links:


Inventory of paintings shown in this post:

  1. Square Rock, Ogunquit, 1914. Oil on canvas, 61.8 x 74.3 cm. Whitney Museum of American Art – New York, NY, USA.
  2. The Dories at Ogunquit, 1914. Oil on canvas, 61.4 x 63.7 cm. Whitney Museum of American Art – New York, NY, USA.
  3. Gloucester Harbour, 1912. Oil on canvas, 66.04 x 71.12 cm. Private Collection.
  4. Rocks and Houses, Ogunquit, Maine, 1914. Oil on canvas, 61 x 73.7 cm. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY, USA.
  5. Trees and Beach, 1916-19. Oil on panel, 24 x 33 cm. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, USA.
  6. Monhegan Houses, Maine, 1916-1919. Oil on panel, 22.9 x 33 cm. Portland Museum of Art, Maine, USA.
  7. House on the Shore, 1924. Watercolor on paper, 35.6 x 50.8 cm. Private collection.
  8. The Bootleggers1925. Oil on canvas, 76.5 x 96.5 cm. The Currier Museum of Art, Manchester, NH, USA.
  9. The Mansard Roof, 1923. Watercolor over graphite on paper, 35,5 x 50,8 cm.
    New York, Brooklyn Museum, USA.
  10. Small Town Station, 1918-20. Oil on canvas, 67 x 97 cm.
  11. Methodist Church Yard (Cape Elizabeth), 1929. Watercolor on paper, 35.4 x 50.6 cm. Tacoma Art Museum, Washington, USA.
  12. Haskell’s House, 1924. Watercolor over graphite on paper, 34.3 x 49.5 cm. Washington, National Gallery of Art, USA.
  13. Davis House (Gloucester, Mass.), 1926. Watercolor on paper, 35.7 x 50.8 cm. Private collection.
  14. Adams House (Gloucester, Mass.), 1928. Watercolor on paper, 40.6 x 63.5 cm. Wichita Art Museum, Whichita, Kansas, USA.
  15. Marty Welch’s House, 1928. Watercolour on paper, 35.6 x 50.8 cm.
  16. Prospect Street, Gloucester, 1928. Watercolor on paper laid down on board, 35.6 x 50.8 cm.
  17. Sun on Prospect Street, Gloucester, 1934. Oil on canvas, 71.1 x 92.1 cm.
  18. House with Veranda, Charleston, SC., 1929. Watercolour and fabricated chalk on paper, 35.4 x 50.6 cm.
  19. Prospect Street, Gloucester, 1928. Watercolor on paper laid down on board, 35.6 x 50.8 cm. Private collection.
  20. Sun on Prospect Street, Gloucester, 1934. Oil on canvas, 71.1 x 92.1 cm.
  21. Gloucester Houses [Houses on a Hill], 1926-28. Watercolour on paper, 40.6 x 55.2 cm).
  22. House with Big Pine, 1935. Watercolour on paper, 52 x 64.1 cm. New England Collector.
  23. Marshall’s House, 1932. Watercolour over graphite on paper (? x ? cm). Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, Connecticut, USA.
  24. Jenness House Looking North, 1934. Watercolour on paper, 48.3 x 69.9 cm. The State Art Museum of Florida, Sarasota, Florida, USA.
  25. House in Italian Quarter, 1923. Watercolour on paper, 45.4 x 58.4 cm.
  26. Red Barn in Autumn Landscape, 1927. Watercolour and graphite pencil on paper, 35.4 x 50.6 cm.
  27. Railroad Embankment, 1932.  Gouache and watercolour on paper, 35.6 x 50.8 cm.
  28. House with Dead Trees, 1932. Watercolour on paper, 50.8 x 51.1 cm.
  29. Hodgkin’s House, Cape Ann, 1928. Oil on canvas, 71.1 x 91.4 cm. Private collection.
  30. House on Pamet River, 1934. Watercolour over graphite on paper, 55.4 x 68.1 cm. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, USA.
  31. Mouth of Pamet River—Full Tide, 1937. Watercolour on paper, 50.8 x 71.8 cm. Private collection, Washington, D.C., USA.
  32. Vermont Sugar House, 1938. Watercolour on paper, 34.3 x 49.5 cm. Private collection.
  33. Cottages at North Truro, 1938. Watercolour on paper, 52.9 x 71.4 cm. Private collection.
  34. House on the Cape, Cape Cod, 1940.
  35. House by Squam River, Gloucester, 1926. Watercolour on paper, 30.5 x 38 cm.
  36. House with a Rain Barrel, 1936. Wwatercolour on paper, 49.5 x 70 cm.

[List still in progress – Aug, 9 – 2017]


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