Finally! A major exhibition of Hopper’s Gloucester is underway, and one that will be mounted right here in Gloucester. Mark your calendars for visits to Cape Ann Museum this summer to study up close 60 Edward Hopper paintings, drawings and prints inspired by Gloucester and Cape Ann, on loan from the Whitney Museum of American Art and other public and private collections, and featuring a selection of work by Josephine Nivinson Hopper.
Masterpiece drawings are rarely on public view or loaned because 1)they are fragile and watercolors are especially susceptible to light damage and 2)they can be a fixture highlight of a permanent collection which does not warrant any absence easily. This gathering of Hopper originals inspired by Gloucester at the Cape Ann Museum will truly be a once in a generation or lifetime opportunity to see the drawings on view and together in one venue. Investments and improvements into Cape Ann Museum facilities undertaken during Ronda Faloon’s tenure as former Director improved conditions so much that the museum can secure and protect temporary loans of such significance.
“Edward Hopper & Cape Ann: Illuminating an American Landscape is on view at CAM this summer 2023. Opening on July 22, Hopper’s birthday, exactly 100 years after his pivotal trip to Gloucester (then celebrating its 300th anniversary), this once-in-a-generation exhibition offers a fresh look at one of America’s best-known artists at the crucial moment that profoundly shaped his art and his life. It shows the largely ignored but significant origin story of Hopper’s years in and around Gloucester, Massachusetts—a period and place that imbued Hopper’s paintings with a clarity and purpose that had eluded his earlier work. The success of Hopper’s Gloucester watercolors transformed his work in all media and set the stage for his monumental career.”Cape Ann Museum read more here
Edward Hopper (1882-1967) earned respect from his colleagues since his student days and ‘world famous artist’ status in his own time. Admiration for his contribution to American 20th century art did not fade in the 21st century. Indeed it’s been supercharged. Dr. Elliot Bostwick Davis, a long time curator and former museum director, was brought in to lead the survey at Cape Ann Museum, and its accompanying catalogue, published by Rizzoli, the preeminent art publishing house, with a foreword by Adam Weinberg and available in May. Davis was part of the curatorial team that produced the major 2007 Hopper exhibit for the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston which traveled to the Art Institute of Chicago and National Gallery. Significant Hopper artworks are on permanent display and revered worldwide. One imagines that Davis’s efforts were certain to secure the loans Cape Ann Museum sought, and perhaps a future Hopper bequest for the museum. As an art dealer, I first met Dr. Davis when she was an assistant curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art when Colta Ives was the director of the print department.
I determined that there are more than 120 Edward Hopper works of art inspired by Gloucester, and mapped them which helped with the walking tour developed at Cape Ann Museum years after and was credited in CAM’s brochure. Less than 30 had been identified and some were credited to locations elsewhere in Massachusetts or out of state.
Publishers back in 2010 and 2012 did not think there was enough of a market for a Gloucester focused Hopper monograph. Good Morning Gloucester did and was the first to publish that research. In the past decade, Hopper surveys–whether narrow in focus, a broad retrospective traveling in the United States and abroad, or a viral social media expression during the pandemic–have been blockbusters and relevant, inspiring bequests, discoveries, and original work by filmmakers, playwrights, authors and musicians. It’s Gloucester’s time!
Edward Hopper, House in the Italian Quarter, 1923, watercolor, Smithsonian.
“#16 Fort Square Road, Gloucester, MA. Turn around with your back to Gloucester harbor and face “Tony’s House” at the angle shown here. In the painting, note the hint of city skyline lower left, and the slight slope along the right of the harbor. The double house and outhouses were irresistible and inevitable subjects.”Catherine Ryan, 2010. Update: Shingles gone. The home was for sale in 2020, sold, and renovated. Blue cladding is recent. Photo with snow 1/24/2023. Note Birdseye in 2010 photos where Beauport Hotel is now.
The cover for the new catalogue features this home on Washington Street. The painting is in private hands, part of a wonderful collection in New York advised by fantastic curators associated with the Whitney. After this exhibit at Cape Ann Museum perhaps an eventual bequest here in Gloucester could happen.