Edward Hopper

Edward Hopper’s “House in Italian Quarter,” 1923, watercolor, Smithsonian American Art Museum.

GLOUCESTER — Cape Ann Museum recently announced the opening of “Edward Hopper & Cape Ann: Illuminating an American Landscape,” an exhibition of the critically acclaimed American artist during a turning point in his life and career when he was on Cape Ann from 1923-28.

This exhibition is the first dedicated to Edward Hopper’s formative development on Cape Ann, marking a century since he and his future wife, Josephine “Jo” Nivison, visited Gloucester.

“Edward Hopper & Cape Ann” opens on Hopper’s birthday, July 22, and runs through Oct. 16. The exhibition is presented in collaboration with the Whitney Museum of American Art, the major repository of the Hoppers’ work, according to museum officials.

“This inaugural partnership with the Whitney Museum of American Art as a leading national institution is a first for the Cape Ann Museum,” said museum Director Oliver Barker.

“‘Edward Hopper & Cape Ann’ marks the centennial of the summer of 1923 when Edward Hopper created watercolors that earned his first critical acclaim and laid the foundation for future success as one of the greatest 20th century American landscape painters,” Barker said.

The exhibition features 65 works, including paintings, drawings and prints brought together from the Whitney Museum of American Art; the Brooklyn Museum; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., and 24 other institutions and private lenders to tell the story of Hopper’s formative years when he experimented with his painting technique, met his future wife, and embarked on a legendary career.

The exhibition includes 57 works by Edward Hopper, seven by Jo Hopper, and one by their teacher Robert Henri.

This exhibition and the accompanying 225-page catalog being produced by Rizzoli Electa are curated by nationally recognized curator and former museum Director Elliot Bostwick Davis.

“Despite painting in Gloucester in 1912 and in Maine for six more summers, Hopper initially struggled to find a distinctive artistic voice,” writes Davis.

“Hopper understood that Gloucester, familiar from his earlier trip in 1912, was perhaps his last chance to make a name for himself as a painter at the age of 41. By 1923, he was supporting himself as an illustrator and etcher; his only painting sale had occurred over a decade earlier.”

Hopper (1882-1967) visited Cape Ann initially at the invitation of his friend and fellow painter, Leon Kroll (1884-1974), and produced his first oil painting outdoors in the U.S. during that trip.

The Whitney Museum is lending Hopper’s five oils painted in Gloucester in 1912, including “Briar (sic) Neck, Gloucester” (1912); “Tall Masts” (1912); “Italian Quarter” (1912); and “Gloucester Harbor” (1912).

The exhibition will mark the first time these works have ever been shown together on Cape Ann.

“Hopper gives us an extraordinary opportunity to tell Gloucester’s story as a significant and influential place for artistic inspiration and growth,” Barker said. “The exhibition in exploring this concept of place as a creative catalyst, thanks to Elliot Davis, also recasts Jo Nivison’s role of model and muse to the producer of Hopper’s distinctive style, from the time of their courtship on Cape Ann in 1923 to the last painting to leave his easel in 1965. It’s a remarkable story that we cannot wait to share.”

“Edward Hopper & Cape Ann” will be on view at the museum’s downtown campus in Gloucester, and is accompanied by a six-part lecture series as well as a daylong symposium to be held Sept. 30.

Full lecture details and symposium speakers will be announced in February.

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