Edward Hopper in Vermont is now in Vermont–and the watercolors he made in South Royalton are back home, so to speak, via the reproductions in the book. May this Hopper find many new homes, joining its colleagues on bookshelves everywhere!
And may Edward Hopper also find a comfortable place among all the wonderful books about “Vermont Beautiful,” to quote Wallace Nutting, and its fascinating history.
Above: The work in progess, or book as wall hanging.
Edward Hopper and Josephine Nivison married late—in 1924, when he was 42 and she was 41—and thus it is not surprising that their union produced no offspring. No human offspring, that is, for Jo liked to refer to her husband’s paintings as their “children.” In letters to the paintings’ eventual owners, whom Jo considered to be the Hoppers’ “sort of in-laws,” she expressed concern for the welfare of these “children,” hoping that they were “happy,” hung properly and well cared for, and in the case of the fragile watercolors, out of direct sunlight.
Waiting for Edward Hopper in Vermont to be released, I identify with Jo’s concept. Expecting the release of a book is much like expecting the arrival of a baby: exciting to anticipate but also rather scary. Sometimes the wait seems endless; the gestation period for most books is so long that it makes human births seem all the more miraculous. Nevertheless, now that the day is almost here, I feel somewhat reluctant to send my creation out into the world. How can I protect it from those who might not see it with the loving eyes of a parent? Will it find comfortable shelf space in homes and libraries, and most of all, will it fulfill its destiny and actually be read?
And then I remind myself that the book is not about me; it’s about Edward Hopper and the work he made in Vermont, paintings and drawings that have remained largely out of sight. I have no doubt that others will find these Hoppers to be as surprising, interesting, and lovely as I do. I also think that Edward and Jo would be pleased to see these particular “children”—those that were conceived and birthed in Vermont—reunited with their siblings and beautifully reproduced in the book. In this I’ve been not parent but midwife, and that makes me proud.
It is an uncanny coincidence that exactly 42 years ago I was awaiting another arrival, one that was also delayed by three weeks. Sorry, Mr. Hopper, but your release will always be a second to that of my son. Happy Birthday, Jason Kekoa Greene!
In the fall of 1938, after more than a month on Wagon Wheels Farm and in the wake of the Great New England Hurricane of September 21, Edward and Josephine Hopper left South Royalton, Vermont, to return to their Cape Cod home. The watercolors that Hopper had made of views along the White River went with them, hastily packed into the trunk of their Buick.
Seventy-four years later, Hopper and his watercolors will return to Vermont via the pages of my new book, Edward Hopper in Vermont, scheduled to be in bookstores throughout the Green Mountain state on October 26.
But you don’t have to be in Vermont to find this Hopper. It will be available nationwide, wherever you buy your books, or you may order it through the University Press of New England.
Nor do you have to be a Vermonter to appreciate Hopper’s Vermont watercolors. Witness the striking image on the book cover, of Hopper’s First Branch of the White River, painted in South Royalton in 1938 and purchased by the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston the following year. First Branch is just one of Hopper’s seven views of the river–all reproduced in this volume–that evidence his skill as a painter of pure landscapes.
Coming up next: Author appearances in Woodstock, VT, and Burlington, VT.