The Edward Hopper House Art Center in Nyack, NY moved my exhibit Inside Edward Hopper's Truro Studio: Paintings by Philip Koch upstairs from one of their first floor galleries to hang in Hopper's bedroom. Carole Perry, Hopper House's Director, told me they've never before mounted one of their scheduled exhibits in this room. (Carole also kindly sent me these photos of the bedroom installation).
I get the biggest kick out of this.
Both Hopper and his mother were born in this room ( though not at the same time, obviously). Hopper slept in this room until he was nearly thirty. That's funny for me to think about as I left home at 18 and never lived there again. No doubt the Hopper family functioned differently than mine. Hopper was legendarily socially awkward and a generally a very remote personality. Most artists aren't like that. I often wonder about the family dynamics in that house during Hopper's formative childhood years. As neither Hopper nor his only sister had children, there's probably nobody around today who really knows much about that.
What we do have as living clues to Hopper's personality of course are his paintings, and they reveal very much. They show us a man whose eyes and heart were wide open to the world.
As I've written in several previous blog posts, I believe the quality of the light and the striking views out the room's windows toward the Hudson River and the town of Nyack offer a critical key to grasping Hopper's remarkable paintings. (Above is his oil Seven A.M. widely thought to have been inspired by a local storefront just down the street from Hopper's home).
Regular readers of this blog know Hopper was the big influence on me that caused me as a young artist to switch from painting abstractions to working as a realist painter. His work so impressed me that once I'd seen it there was no turning back. So here we have my own paintings on display in the room where the artist who most inspired and shaped my direction came of age himself. To exhibit in this special place is deeply meaningful to me and a very great honor.
The show will continue at Hopper House Art Center through July 1, 2012.
In the photograph that began this post, here's the painting hanging at the far left, Edward Hopper's Truro Studio Bedroom, oil on panel, 24 x 12", 2012.
Here's another view of the Nyack bedroom. That's one of the windows that looks out over North Broadway, one of the main streets in downtown Nyack. It offers an entrancing glimpse of the Hudson River just a block away.
Above at the far left is a poster describing my involvement with Hopper's Cape Cod painting studio over the years. My current exhibit is an intimate grouping of the paintings I've made during my 13 residencies in that Cape Cod studio. All are views of its interior. Here's the poster-
Moving to the right, here is the next painting, Entryway, Edward Hopper's Truro Studio Kitchen-
Continuing to the right, my oil Morning Truro Studio-
And my oil at the far right, Edward Hopper's Truro Studio Kitchen-
Normally the upstairs level of the Hopper House Art Center is closed to the public. Re-installing my exhibit up in Hopper's bedroom provides visitors to the Hopper House an extra bonus. Here's a little sign in the hallway directing visitors up the stairs to see the bedroom and the new display.
And here's the view from the upstairs hallway of Hopper's bedroom with three of my oils hanging in the corner above a child's highchair that was in Hopper's family and may well have been used to feed little Edward.
I just returned last night from Maine where Alice and I spent a week on Mount Desert Island. It was a painting excursion as well as a 30th anniversary celebration of our honeymoon in the same place. Back in 1982 on the Island we hit a batch of cold and often rainy weather. The art gods obliged and served up a similar dose for us this time too. The funny thing is I had a ball and the painting went really well. Go figure...
I'll have a new blog post about the trip to Maine and the work I did there shortly.