Edward Hoppers

SHOWCASE-July 2011

by Rebecca Falzano

The Bowdoin College Museum of Art offers a rare glimpse of Hopper’s time in Maine

Famed American realist Edward Hopper spent several summers in Maine—nine of them—from 1914 to 1929. During that time, he traveled along the coast, painting and sketching places like Ogunquit, Monhegan, Rockland, Cape Elizabeth, Two Lights, and Portland, among others.

Starting this month, the Bowdoin College Museum of Art will feature a comprehensive exhibition devoted to Hopper’s artistic production in Maine during this 15-year period. Approximately 90 rarely exhibited plein-air paintings, watercolors, drawings, and prints compose this exhibition.

According to curatorial fellow Diana Tuite, who is co-curating the exhibition with museum director Kevin Salatino, the exhibition represents the progression of Hopper’s work during this time. “I think that audiences will be stunned by the immediacy of Hopper’s early Maine paintings and will walk away appreciating just how formative the period between 1914 and 1929 was for him,” says Tuite.

“The small oils he produced on Monhegan beginning in 1916 demonstrate just how much he could evoke the sensory experience of nature—the pounding of the surf, for example.” By the 1920s, when Hopper started to focus on watercolors, the emphasis on sensation takes a back seat to his preoccupation with structure. “He begins to organize some of the compositions in unorthodox ways, so that they resist being picturesque, and start to make you ask questions, a trait that we very much associate with Hopper’s mature paintings.”

Edward Hopper’s Maine is organized in association with the Whitney Museum of American Art and will feature works loaned from many public institutions and private collections. In addition, the exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated scholarly catalogue published by Delmonico Books–Prestel.

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