“After Hopper” inspiration for local artists on Cape Cod

by Donna Cain

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The Lighthouse painted by Edward Hopper in 1930

We love local art and are always enthused when talking to guests about their art experiences during their stay. When guests ask us where to go, that is a hard one to answer, as there are so many wonderful galleries and studios around Cape Cod. If we had to only choose a couple, we would recommend the Addison Art Gallery in Orleans,  the J. Todd gallery in Chatham and the Tao Water Art Gallery in Barnstable.

This summer there has been a wonderful tribute to Edward Hopper- called “After Hopper”. It was conceived by Helen Addison, owner of the Addison Art Gallery and is a two year tribute to the artist and includes exhibitions of other plein air paintings (a French expression which means “in the open air” and is particularly used to describe the act of painting outdoors) who are inspired by Hopper.

Edward Hopper,  (July 22, 1882 – May 15, 1967) was a prominent American realist  painter. While he was most popularly known for his oil paintings,  he was equally proficient in watercolor and etching. Both in his urban and rural scenes, his spare and finely calculated renderings reflected his personal vision of modern American life. Edward Hopper touched many Cape Cod artists as the Hoppers built their summer house in South Truro in 1934 and returned here every summer for the rest of their lives, taking driving trips from South Truro into other areas when Edward needed to search for fresh material to paint. Hopper created over 100 plein air paintings and Addison seemed to have touched upon something vital and important, as so many contemporary artists in America credit Hopper as their inspiration. 

Over 50 local artists from Cape Cod are joining in on this tribute and their work is on display at many events scheduled over the the next two years.

Chatham artist Maryalice Eizenberg says “I love the way his light gleams on buildings. The luminosity is unparalleled. And his handling of architecture is masterful”

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Cottages at Wellfleet by Edward Hopper

Fay Shutzer, an artist who divides her time between New York City and Truro agrees with Addison’s excitement. ” I’ve always been aware of Hopper’s work. This area is full of scenes he has painted. The essence of what is saw is still here. It hasn’t changed much” She says the light calls to her as well.

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Gas by Edward Hopper

“Hopper is my greatest influence” declares artist Steve Kennedy. “I particularly like the stark aspect and emotions of his paintings and his use of oils and watercolors. When he is out painting, he sees Hopper’s images in his mind. “There is a phrase about building on the shoulders of other people. Hopper’s work is complex. He comments on the human condition. I like the architecture and the maritime paintings: boats and buildings”

Cape Cod Evening Edward Hopper

Cape Cod Evening by Edward Hopper

Truro artist Catherine Skowron has an inside connection: She lives in a house Hopper painted. “I am attracted by the light on the side of the hill. It’s what captured his attention. I see that light and can’t resist it”

 

Rooms for Tourists Edward Hopper

Rooms for tourists by Edward Hopper (holds a special place in my heart:)

Brazilian artist Cleber Stecci, who now lives on Cape Cod, finds painting in Hopper country exciting while his own style is evolving. ” I am able to be here and paint the same subject matter. Just to be in the same place is an honor. He inspires me. Hopper painted cityscapes, landscapes and figures. Th kind of things he painted interest me, as well as the light and dark in his painting. The colors too, I can see Hopper’s work in my painting.”

Hopper spent nearly 40 of his 84 summers in Truro, the rolling, lightly populated stretch of the Cape between Provincetown and Wellfleet.

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Edward and Josephine Hopper’s summer house, built in 1934. Painting by Chris Ramirez. On a sand bluff, the house overlooks nothing but bearberry, broom crowberry, dune grass and an empty stretch of Fisher Beach. Over the decades, as his work developed, Hopper returned each year to this simplicity: old wooden houses in an open landscape of beach, heath and woodlot.

HIs work continues to inspire  many artists that call Cape Cod their home and inspiration.

Upcoming events celebrating Edward Hopper’s legacy on Cape Cod-

August 29-November 15

After Hopper:En Plein Air museum exhibition, Cape Cod Museum of Art

 

 

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