Philip Koch Quoted in Whitney Museum's Hopper Drawing Exhibition Catalogue

 The Whitney Museum of American Art's  Hopper Drawing show opens today in New York (through October 6, 2013).

Carter Foster, the Museum's Steven and Ann Ames Curator of Drawing, writing in the opening paragraph of his exhibition catalogue essay includes a footnote concerning Hopper's oil Rooms by the Sea that quotes at length something I had written to him recently.

Foster writes: "Artist Philip Koch, who has spent time in the Hopper's former house making his own work, shared these illuminating thoughts about the difference between the painting and the views from and inside the house. 'A comparison of Hopper's inventive vision and the actual "facts" of the studio's architecture is revealing. Hopper's famous oil contrasts the open waves of Cape Cod Bay directly agains the doorway. To heighten the contrast, he places a big blast of sunlight on the empty wall and darkens down the water. It works beautifully.

But to get to this, he had to move the wooden dutch (sic) door to hinges on the opposite side of the doorframe. Then he widened the white wall. And best of all, he has the sunlight shining on a wall it never hits in reality. The view is looking south, and the empty wall faces due north.

In his most daring move, he eliminates the land between the studio and the water, lending the painting a delicious surreal quality. I used to wonder about this lovely but odd placement before I ever had visited the studio. But I found that when one sits in a chair at the far end of the studio away from the water (which is where Hopper usually placed his easel when he worked) that his viewpoint was low enough to the ground he would have seen the doorway seeming to lead directly out into the water. So the oddness of the painting's composition actually stems from something he saw. He just had the sense to take advantage of it.'"


  1. Very nice blog you have here. A hidden treasure really. I have following it for quite some time.
    I very much enjoy reading your knowledgable viewpoints in your posts, especially those on Hopper, a hero of mine since my own early days as an artist.
    It must be exciting to stay and work in the home/studio of such a great artist, a pleasure so few have with him or any other artist.

    Reading these posts on him and his residence it seems you have quiet time to see, reflect, absorb... the same as Hopper must have experienced living there.
    This gives us readers more to learn about him and his work (beyond books) that is new as well as from the point of view of another working artist, which is very different than that of a historian.
    That experience should be cherished and I'm happy you share it with the rest of us instead of keeping to yourself.

    That said, I am always surprised by the lack of comments here, hopefully not an indication of the number of visits.
    Keep painting...

  2. David, thanks so much for your kind comments. Enjoye looking at your blog and your impressive paintings and also the doodles (the angry looking rabbit in particular!).


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