Per reader request, over the next few days I’ll be reposting mini chapter excerpts — primarily illustrations– from a longer read about the evolution of outhouses and public utilities specific to Gloucester, Massachusetts, Privy to Privy History, on Good Morning Gloucester June 6, 2021.
‘Gloucester Outhouses in American Paintings’ copied below is “Excerpt 1” (stay tuned for some more Cape Ann Museum additions); Excerpt 2 will focus on early 20th century photographs; future excerpts might highlight some of the history mentions such as the bathroom fixtures at the Crane estate; and so on.Catherine Ryan, Aug. 2021
EDWARD HOPPER – gloucester outhouses
Edward Hopper included outhouses in numerous Gloucester vistas. Hopper depicted buildings and worked with watercolor and gouache long before his renowned first sell out show of Gloucester images in the 1920s.
Illustrations: Reminder- You can pinch and zoom to enlarge (and select “full size” image if that option shows)
The Whitney Museum of American Art has the largest collection of Edward Hopper art. This small watercolor study the museum dates circa 1900 contains germs of his later work. There is an elusive building, or nestled buildings, front and center. Strong shadows are emphasized. Is the shed attached or not? An entrance, a ticket booth, an outhouse? Is that a circus tent flag squiggle? The pencil line beyond the vertical street light (or railroad signal) might be a train track. Further right, there’s a red dab. Perhaps another structure. The window with yellow has a barn vibe. I did think about the scene in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid when Katherine Ross looks down from a hay loft to catch the ‘Paul Newman riding a bike for the Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head’ show.
early Stuart Davis – Gloucester outhouses
Gloucester Outhouses in American Art
Selection of Gloucester scenes with outhouses by various artists: Dennis Miller Bunker; Charles Burchfield; James Jeffrey Grant; Emil Gruppe; Max Kuehne; William Lester Stevens; Paul Bough Travis; and Louise Woodroofe. Stay tuned for more.
1938 NYC – Masterful Mabel Dwight
Leave it to Mabel Dwight for a humorous and original take, Backyard, 1938 WPA/FAP lithograph.
Below – New York City images (collection, NYPL) for comparison of the flip view. More photographs featured in Excerpt 2.