Lot 58
  • 58

Edward Hopper 1882 - 1967

300,000 - 500,000 USD
305,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Edward Hopper
  • Spindley Locusts
  • signed EDWARD HOPPER (lower right)
  • watercolor and pencil on paper


Frank K.M. Rehn Galleries, New York
Norman and Helene Cahners, Santuit, Massachusetts, 1961 (acquired from the above)
By descent to the present owner


Artist's Record Book, vol. II, p. 45, s.v. 1936
Gail Levin, Edward Hopper: A Catalogue Raisonné, New York, 1995, no. W-310, p. 279, illustrated in color
Gail Levin, Edward Hopper: An Intimate Biography, New York, 2007, p. 286

Catalogue Note

Edward Hopper made summer pilgrimages to Gloucester, Massachusetts starting in 1912, followed by sojourns in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. After several decades of regular trips to northern New England, Hopper and his wife, Jo, made their initial visit to Cape Cod in June 1930. They rented “Bird Cage Cottage” on the Truro farm of A.C. Burleigh Cobb, the village postmaster. Their own home in South Truro was completed in 1934, providing an environment that was a source of inspiration for the remainder of Hopper’s career.

An isolated township located near the tip of Cape Cod, South Truro was home to 500 residents at the time of the Hoppers’ first stay, and offered a welcome retreat from the hustle and grit of New York City. During his first years on the Cape, the artist spent much of his time surveying the land, intrigued by the unspoiled terrain, local architecture and strong summer light. Of this locale Hopper observed, “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” (Carl Little, Edward Hopper’s New England, Rohnert Park, California, 1993, p. XIII).

Painted in 1936 near Pamet Point Road in Wellfleet, Massachusetts, Spindley Locusts is one of eight watercolors Hopper completed that summer. The spontaneity of the watercolor medium allowed the artist to explore the effects of light and shadow and celebrate the most immediate qualities of the natural world. Hopper began with a pencil sketch of forms that remain visible in Spindley Locusts, over which he applied thin layers of wash, building up where necessary. Atop the hill are thickly settled trees immersed in dark green shadows whose elongated shapes draw the viewer’s eye down the hillside into the open, sunlit foothill. The gray locusts transition between the shadowed areas above and the brighter, more luminous ground below. As Gail Levin writes of his watercolors, “light was the language through which Hopper expressed the forms and views before him. His watercolors were simply recordings of his observations, painted almost entirely out-of-doors, directly before his subject matter” (Edward Hopper: A Catalogue Raisonné, New York, 1995, p. 65-6).