July 17, 2011

Hopper heaven

Fans of the painter may think they've died and gone there upon viewing 'Edward Hopper's Maine' at Bowdoin.

By Bob Keyes bkeyes@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

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“Maine in Fog,” oil on canvas, 1926-29

Images courtesy Bowdoin College Museum of Art

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Edward Hopper painted “Dories in a Cove,” oil on board on panel, in Ogunquit in 1914. Hopper came to the town in the summers of 1914 and 1915, by which time it was widely known as an artist colony.

Additional Photos Below



WHEN: Through Oct. 16

WHERE: Bowdoin College Museum of Art, 9400 College Station, Brunswick

HOURS: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday, 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday; open until 8:30 p.m. Thursdays


INFO: 725-3275; bowdoin.edu/art-museum

In 1916, Hopper began his annual Monhegan pilgrimages. If Ogunquit lured painters with its fishing villages and easy access to quaint coastal scenes, Monhegan offered something else altogether. This was hard-to-reach rugged terrain -- dramatic in its scope and character.


The trail of artists coming to Monhegan was well worn by the time Hopper arrived for the first time in 1916, but it was nothing like Ogunquit. Monhegan was still fresh, and Hopper devoured the landscape.

These 30 Monhegan oils suggest he was awed by the sea and the steep, dangerous cliffs. They are specific and focused -- single boulders and coves, with waves crashing on the rocks. There is one village painting, one scene of three dories at water's edge and one painting of trees running along a path and fence line.

Otherwise, almost everything else suggests precipitous granite cliffs. They are not unlike Monet's haystacks, a concentration on a single subject.

Hopper painted Realist depictions of actual places, but these paintings seem to have more to do with shape, form and color than a specific time or place. Some are almost anti-picturesque. "They are closer to abstraction than he ever did before or again," Salatino said.

Maine also gave Hopper a chance to exercise his skills as a watercolorist. The Bowdoin show has 34 watercolors from 1926-27 and 1929, from Rockland, Portland, Cape Elizabeth and Pemaquid. Some have been shown in Maine recently, but their inclusion in the Bowdoin show is important, because they help tell the complete story of Hopper's time in Maine.

One other notable painting in this show is "Maine in Fog," an unsigned oil painting that Hopper made between 1926 and 1929. The Whitney Museum owns it, but Salatino said the Whitney has never included it in a major Hopper show.

For many years, the mysterious painting was believed to be unfinished. But Salatino said new information suggests that is indeed a finished piece of work, and its inclusion in the Bowdoin show represents "a major Hopper discovery."

"Edward Hopper's Maine" includes an interactive map on the museum's website. Viewers can click on locations in Maine where Hopper painted, and compare the finished work with a present-day photo from the location where Hopper made the painting.

Staff Writer Bob Keyes can be contacted at 791-6457 or at:


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Additional Photos

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“Road in Maine,”oil on canvas, 1914

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“Sea and Rocky Shore,” oil on canvas panel, 1916-19, is among 30 Hopper studies of Monhegan Island on view in “Edward Hopper’s Maine” at Bowdoin College.


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