Looking Through Hopper's Window

Here are a few more photos I took in Edward Hopper's S. Truro, MA studio this October when we were staying there during our 14th residency.  At the top is one of Hopper's kitchen table and chairs where he and his wife Jo would sit to eat. (We supplied the bananas).

Below is a view from overhead of the same table that's flanked by two windows facing due east.  In the mornings this bright unobstructed light comes in through the two windows. It's delightful.

Here is an 8 x 10" pastel drawing I did of the table from a similar viewpoint.

Hopper did a number of powerful paintings of people seated around a table as in this early oil of his, Chop Suey from 1929, five years before he built the Truro studio. I love all the personality he expresses in the torsos of the two women. The one is front sculpted with flat angular planes, the one on the far side of the table with more rounded forms. Hopper is enjoying playing off extremely pale colors in the far woman's skin and in the two white table tops against the overwhelmingly reddish-brown interior. Great color, Hopper knew, required a range of intensities with the color choices. 

Hopper loved this sort of inside v.s. outside composition and played with this arrangement throughout his long career. 

A lesser artist I think would have gotten lost in all the detail out the window, particularly the "Chop Suey" sign, but Hopper intentionally tones down the contrasts within that. Out the window provides an elaborate space as a backdrop, but Hopper insists on placing all the high contrast focus on his diners and tables in the lower left corner of the painting. Consummate master of ceremonies that he is, Hopper deftly tells you where to look.

Though it's not his kitchen, here's a photo I took in his bedroom looking out the window at the left to Cape Cod Bay and to the right through the doorway into his large painting room. I find it kind of remarkable that Hopper never did more literal paintings of these spaces in his studio. Perhaps in his later  decades when he worked in this studio he needed distance from his immediate surroundings for his visual inventiveness to fully kick in.

Here is a pastel of mine, Hopper Studio Kitchen, 10 x 8" that was done on location looking from Hopper's painting room, down a short hallway with an unseen bathroom at the left, and opening into his kitchen. The far window is just above the kitchen sink and looks out on a sandy hillside partly covered with beach grasses.

On my website philipkoch.org there's a special page devoted to photographs of the S. Truro Hopper studio that my wife and I have taken, and the home in Nyack, NY where Hopper was born and grew up, now the Edward Hopper House Art Center.

If you are in the New York area you can see five of my paintings of Hopper's studio and of his boyhood  home in Nyack, NY  in the solo show of my work at George Billis Gallery in the Chelsea art district. The show opens  Dec. 11 and runs through Jan. 19th, 2013.


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