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Edward Hopper in Vermont

Bonnie Tocher Clause

Publication Year: 2012

A delightful account of Edward Hopper’s sojourns in Vermont with his wife, Jo, illustrated by the watercolors and drawings that he made there Edward and Jo Hopper first discovered Vermont in 1927, making day trips from the Whitney Studio Club’s summer retreat for New York artists in Charlestown, New Hampshire. In 1935 and 1936 the Hoppers again traveled to Vermont, this time from their summer home in Cape Cod, in Edward’s continuing search for new places to paint. During these quests they identified the White River and what Edward considered to be Vermont’s “finest” river valley, and they returned there for longer visits in 1937 and 1938, boarding at Robert and Irene Slater’s Wagon Wheels farm in South Royalton. These “vacations” were a change from the usual tempo of their lives, a break from the studio-bound easels, canvas, and oils, and an opportunity to paint something different, to be in a new place and paint en plein air. Over the course of his Vermont sojourns, Edward Hopper produced some two dozen paintings, watercolors that are among the most distinctive of his regional works, strongly characterized by place. In this accessible volume, Bonnie Tocher Clause tells the story of the Hoppers’ visits to Vermont, their stays on the Slater farm, and their introduction to farm life. She locates the sites shown in Hopper’s Vermont paintings, identifies two watercolors not previously recognized as Vermont scenes, and traces the development of Hopper’s singular interpretations of the Vermont landscape. In Edward Hopper in Vermont, Clause details the provenance of the Vermont paintings through the years, tracking the history of sales leading to the works’ ultimate homes with private collectors and museums. Showcasing all the Vermont paintings in color, this volume will delight both fans of Hopper’s work and those who are fascinated by the story of the creation, collection, and business of producing great art.

Published by: University Press of New England


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Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-iv


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p. vii


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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi-xix

My discovery of Edward Hopper’s Vermont works coincided with my discovering Vermont, a place I’d never seen until Mike Hogan took me there, not long after we’d met. Both relationships clicked—Mike’s and mine, and ours with Vermont—and in 2005 we built a second home there, on a hillside in the small town of South Royalton, off a dirt road that runs north from Route 14 and the White River. ...

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1 | Edward Hopper: The Answer Is in the Paintings

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pp. 1-8

Edward Hopper. The name conjures up images of rooflines and water towers, red brick facades, lighted windows glimpsed at night, and lonely women in various states of undress, sitting on beds in hotel rooms and gazing at rooflines and water towers and red brick walls—urban images all. Send perspective flying northward from New York, à la Google Earth, and Hopper becomes synonymous with white lighthouses and billowing sails against the brilliant...

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2 | Initial Forays into Vermont (1927)

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pp. 9-28

In 1927, when Edward and Josephine Hopper first drove into Vermont in search of places to paint, Calvin Coolidge, a Vermonter, was president of the United States. He had succeeded to the office from the vice presidency at 2:43 a.m. on August 3, 1923, following the sudden death of President Warren G. Harding. The reports of Coolidge’s swearing-in had the flavor of smalltown Vermont, described in nearly idyllic terms. Coolidge was “aroused from...

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3 | “Subjects for a Painter . . . at Every Hand” (1928–36)

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pp. 29-53

Wilder’s paean summed up the qualities of the Vermont landscape that have attracted artists from the eighteenth century onward. Some, like the artists of the Hudson River School, came for brief sojourns, making trips into Vermont to sketch, camping out in the forests of the Green Mountains, and returning home to complete their grandly scaled oil paintings. Other artists paid longer visits, staying for months at a time and producing a season’s worth...

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4 | On the Slaters’ Farm, South Royalton (1937 and 1938)

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pp. 54-94

Vermont’s disastrous flood of 1927 had an unexpectedly salutary effect, spurring the rebuilding of the state’s infrastructure and increasing accessibility for automobiles. In 1937 the Publicity Service of Vermont’s Department of Conservation and Development boasted that there were 14,401 miles of highways in Vermont, with 4,479 under some form of state control and “many of hard surface or good gravel construction.”1 State-published booklets...

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5 | Hopper’s Vermont Landscapes

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pp. 95-114

The watercolors and drawings that Edward Hopper made in Vermont record his visions of a particular place, a landscape with distinctive forms, colors, textures, and quality of light. These works reveal something of Hopper’s process in exploring a place that was new to him: first identifying subjects that he wanted to paint; then experimenting with perspective and composition, painting variations on a theme, whether barn or hillside; and finally moving...

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6 | Where Are All the Children?

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pp. 115-156

Jo Hopper’s letter to Lila Harnett was not the first time that she referred to Edward’s paintings as the Hoppers’ children. In the summer of 1930, when the Hoppers visited their friends Edward and Grace Root at Hamilton College, in upstate New York, Jo was pleased to see Edward’s watercolors on the walls of some of the homes they visited. As she wrote to another friend, “It was such satisfaction to find one’s children so well situated.”1 A few years...

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pp. 157-169

The photographer Robert Adams, two generations removed from Edward Hopper, views him as a teacher, writing that Hopper’s works made him aware of “the poignancy of light” and that it is light that makes “all places . . . interesting.”1 Adams’s comments are from his essay in the catalog for the 2009 exhibit at the Fraenkel Gallery in San Francisco, Edward Hopper & Company, described in chapter 6. The juxtapositions between Hopper’s...


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pp. 171-199

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Notes on Sources

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p. 201

Complete citations for the sources referenced in this book appear in the endnotes. The Selected Bibliography lists the published sources that are most significant for any study of Edward Hopper, including some that are not directly cited in the text. This list also includes resources that are of particular relevance to Hopper’s work during the 1920s and 1930s and to Vermont social and cultural history during that period. ...

Selected Bibliography

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pp. 203-205


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pp. 207-214

E-ISBN-13: 9781611683295
E-ISBN-10: 1611683297
Print-ISBN-13: 9781611683288
Print-ISBN-10: 1611683289

Page Count: 234
Illustrations: 47 illus. (21 color)
Publication Year: 2012

OCLC Number: 812914999
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Edward Hopper in Vermont

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Subject Headings

  • Hopper, Edward, 1882-1967 -- Criticism and interpretation.
  • Hopper, Edward, 1882-1967 -- Homes and haunts -- Vermont.
  • Vermont -- In art.
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