This week and next I’m talking about Edward Hopper in Vermont in two locations, moving closer each time to the places Hopper painted in 1937 and ’38.
On Saturday, November 10th, at 2:00 p.m., I’ll be at the Norman Williams Public Library, on The Green in Woodstock, Vermont. Edward Hopper might have chosen this beautiful, classic New England town as a place to stay and paint, as other artists in this time period certainly did. But in 1937 Hopper avoided any place that came close to being an artists’ colony. Instead, he settled in about 20 miles farther to the north, in the lovely, more rural town of South Royalton.
On Thursday, November 15th, at 5:30 p.m., I’ll be there–in downtown SoRo, at the Vermont Law School’s Barrister’s Bookshop on Chelsea Street.This is just a mile south of the location of the Slaters’ farm, Wagon Wheels, where Edward and Jo Hopper boarded in the summers of 1937 and ’38.
The Slaters’ farmhouse is still there, on Rte 110 just past Ducker Road. Hopper painted First Branch of the White River, the watercolor on the cover of my book, from the perspective of the steep hillside next to the farmhouse. Later, asked about the circumstances of making the painting, Hopper wrote that “aside from…the curiosity of the cows, the occasion was not momentous.”
The farmhouse was long ago converted to apartments, which now are usually occupied by VLS students. Perhaps the book will inspire them to make a plaque: “Edward Hopper Slept Here.” The occasion may not have been momentous, but it is nevertheless notable that one of America’s most famous and beloved artists found our corner of Vermont to be a beautiful, peaceful place to linger for a while–and to paint.