Edward Hopper 1882-1967
- Edward Hopper
- Shacks at Pamet Head
- signed Edward Hopper, l.r.
- watercolor on paper
- 20 by 22 in.
- (50.8 by 55.9 cm)
- Executed in 1937.
Spanierman Gallery, New York, 1987
Acquired by the present owner from the above, 1991
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, The Thirty-ninth Annual Philadelphia Watercolor and Print Exhibition, and the Fortieth Annual Exhibition of Miniatures, November-December 1941, no. 400
New York, Whitney Museum of American Art, Edward Hopper Retrospective Exhibition, February-March 1950, no. 118
New York, Whitney Museum of American Art, Edward Hopper, September-November 1964, no. 121
New York, New School Art Center, Museum Leaders Collect: Selections From the Private Collections of Ten New York Museum Directors and Curators, April-May 1970, no. 19, illustrated
The artist’s record book, vol. II, p. 47
Lloyd Goodrich, "Portrait of the Artist," Woman’s Day, February 1965, pp. 37-41, 92, illustrated p. 38
Lloyd Goodrich, Edward Hopper, New York, 1971, p. 240, illustrated
Gail Levin, Edward Hopper: A Catalogue Raisonné, vol. II, New York, 1995, no. W-317, p. 286, illustrated in color
Edward Hopper spent his first summer on the New England Coast in 1912, and returned regularly in the decades that followed. The artist and his wife Jo eventually built a home in South Truro, Massachusetts, on the eastern end of Cape Cod, in 1934. The Hoppers spent nearly six months of every year in South Truro, where the landscape and architecture of the region provided endless subject material for the artist. He later described his interest in the Cape in a 1962 interview: "I chose to live here because it has a longer summer season. I like Maine very much, but it gets so cold in the fall. There’s something soft about Cape Cod that doesn’t appeal to me too much. But there’s a beautiful light there—very luminous—perhaps because it’s so far out to sea; an island almost."
The translucency of the watercolor medium, combined with the spontaneity required in execution, proved to be ideally suited to capturing the luminosity that Hopper sought—a quality that has became a hallmark of his work. His commitment to commonplace subject matter, which he often infused with a suble mood of mystery or melancholy--as with the weathered beach shacks in the present work, painted near Hopper’s South Truro home--continued to offer his contemporary audience a novel interpretation of the familiar American scene. The creation of this particular work is well documented by Jo Hopper, who wrote in her diary on October 25, 1937: ‘last week--or was it early this week he began ‘Lousy Shacks’ over on back shore way at head of Pamet. Interesting building up formation shacks marching up hill all on stilts to house on top with sand & tall grasses in wind.’ The next day she noted: ‘went shopping...E. wanted to be back before 3--to have another go at Lousy shacks--Boylston Beach...’ On October 25 she reported: ‘...E. worked on Lousy Shacks in studio...Such grand organization--piling up of slats & roofs--he gets effects without the least exaggeration that any one else would be turning themselves upside down to achieve.’ (Gail Levin, Edward Hopper: A Catalogue Raisonné, vol. II, New York, 1995, p. 286).