Sotheby’s (May 1, 2023) – Returning each season to live and paint in Truro elevated Hopper’s art, allowing him to concentrate on the simplification of forms and the depth of both light and color woven into the surrounding landscape.
Both his technical approach to painting and his perception of the world from 1930 onwards are greatly informed by the Cape. Cobb’s Barns, South Truro derives its bright palette and topographical features from Hopper’s immediate environment, and is emblematic of the profound influence that life in South Truro had on his manner of painting.
Group of Houses, dated 1923-24, stems from a pivotal stage in the development of Edward Hopper’s career. Residential homes occupy much of Hopper’s subject matter in these early watercolors, and Group of Houses is no exception. These charming saltbox houses are typical for the Cape Ann region, whose architectural style reflects its coastal New England atmosphere.
The Battery, Charleston, S.C., dated 1929, is the result of Hopper’s three-week stay in the charming southern city, which is renowned for its Georgian-style architecture and cobblestone streets lined with lush palm trees. His Charlestown pictures possess an inherently tropical feeling, which sets them apart from his otherwise New England-focused oeuvre.
Red Barn in Autumn Landscape is among the limited number of watercolors that Hopper completed during the fall of 1927 in Vermont, and embodies the rustic quality of the New England scenery that drew Hopper to this region in the first place. Hopper routinely sketched his surroundings in coastal towns on the Cape or along the Maine shore, but Red Barn in Autumn Landscape is quite unique in that it captures a specific fall moment as the leaves gradually fade from green to burnt orange and red. The present work is emblematic of the simplicity and charm that characterize Hopper’s New England watercolors.