Hopper’s “Spindley Locusts”: Vermont-Like, But Not Vermont

Edward Hopper’s Spindley Locusts surfaced last week at Sotheby’s in New York, and it now has a new owner — the fortunate individual who could afford to pay $305,000 for this small watercolor! Hopper painted Spindley Locusts in 1936, near Pamet Point Road in Wellfleet, Massachusetts, according to Jo Hopper’s notes in the record book.

Edward Hopper, “Spindley Locusts,” watercolor, 1936.

In the summer of 1936 the Hoppers also travelled into Vermont, where Hopper painted three watercolor landscapes that have resonance with Spindley Locusts, in subject, composition, and palette. Most similar is Mountain Meadow, probably painted in the East Montpelier area (now in the Parrish Art Museum, Southampton, New York).  Here, however, Hopper included an element that’s not in Spindley Locusts, a pale blue sky with filmy white clouds.

Edward Hopper, “Mountain Meadow,” 1936. Watercolor and pencil on paper. Parris Art Museum, Southampton, New York.

Indeed, the Vermont sky, with its endlessly changing patterns of clouds and sunlight, may have been one of the factors that inspired Hopper’s numerous returns to the Green Mountain state.  Take a look at the plates in my book, Edward Hopper in Vermont, to see the range of atmospheric variations that he captured here during his summer sojourns between 1927 and 1938.


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