EDWARD HOPPER (1882-1967)
EDWARD HOPPER (1882-1967)
EDWARD HOPPER (1882-1967)
1 More
EDWARD HOPPER (1882-1967)
4 More
On occasion, Christie's has a direct financial int… Read more Visionary: The Paul G. Allen Collection
EDWARD HOPPER (1882-1967)

Coast Guard Cove

EDWARD HOPPER (1882-1967)
Coast Guard Cove
signed and inscribed 'Edward Hopper Two Lights Me' (lower left)
watercolor and pencil on paper
14 x 20 in. (35.6 x 50.8 cm.)
Executed in 1929
Frank K.M. Rehn Gallery, New York (1929).
Mr. and Mrs. George H. Davis, New York (1931).
Frank K.M. Rehn Gallery, New York.
Kennedy Galleries, Inc., New York (1975).
Dr. and Mrs. Howard A. Ted Bailey, Jr., Little Rock, Arkansas.
Kennedy Galleries, Inc., New York.
Paul and Rachel Mellon, New York (acquired from the above, 1983); Estate sale, Sotheby’s, New York, 10 November 2014, lot 2.
Acquired at the above sale by the late owner
Record Book I, p. 70.
G. Levin, Edward Hopper: A Catalogue Raisonné, New York, 1995, vol. II, p. 202, no. W-233 (illustrated in color).
G. Levin, The Complete Watercolors of Edward Hopper, New York, 2001, p. 202, no. W-233 (illustrated in color).
New York, The Museum of Modern Art, Edward Hopper: Retrospective Exhibition, November-December 1933, p. 29, no. 45.
Arts Club of Chicago, Exhibition of Paintings by Edward Hopper, January 1934, no. 31.
New York, Kennedy Galleries, Inc., Fine American Paintings, 18th, 19th and 20th Centuries, December 1975-January 1976, no. 18.
New York, Kennedy Galleries, Inc., The American Tradition of Realism Part II: Paintings and Sculpture of the Twentieth Century, April-May 1983, no. 41 (illustrated in color).
Special notice
On occasion, Christie's has a direct financial interest in the outcome of the sale of certain lots consigned for sale. This will usually be where it has guaranteed to the Seller that whatever the outcome of the auction, the Seller will receive a minimum sale price for the work. This is known as a minimum price guarantee. This is such a lot.

Brought to you by

Vanessa Fusco
Vanessa Fusco Head of Department, Impressionist & Modern Art, New York

Lot Essay

In Edward Hopper’s Record Book, his wife Jo describes Coast Guard Cove as “A beauty—pale blue water, cliff in shadow—light on little lookout shack. White boat.” (Artist’s Record Book I, p. 70) Indeed, these simple elements of everyday life along the Maine coast are distilled and elevated in the present work to embody the haunting beauty of Hopper’s best work. Whether focused on the urban cityscape of New York or the crisp imagery of New England in the summer, Hopper succeeds in creating compelling landscapes from the most quotidien of sights.

Edward and Jo Hopper made their first trip to Cape Elizabeth, Maine in 1927, following the purchase of a new Dodge automobile. While Hopper had spent time in Maine beginning in 1914, this was his first summer visiting this spot of the coast, where the primary attraction was the lighthouse at Two Lights. Finding the site in the midst of a 300-mile roadtrip, he was particularly captivated by the atmosphere of the area and the historic buildings dating back to 1828. Gerry Souter explains, “Lighthouses had been a favourite subject since Hopper's art school days, but the magnificent structure at Two Lights seemed to obsess him...For Hopper, the location was like a magnet that drew him back over the years." (Edward Hopper: Light and Dark, New York, 2015, n.p.) Hopper's first trip to the area resulted in two major oils: Lighthouse Hill (1927, Dallas Museum of Art, Texas) and Captain Upton's House (1927, Private Collection).

The Hoppers arrived in Cape Elizabeth for their second summer on July 4th, 1929, having driven north from New York. Returning to familiar territory and artistically fertile ground, Hopper resumed his study of the small coastal town, and more specifically, the Coast Guard settlement at Two Lights. He found their isolation enchanting and their old fashioned way of life, lacking modern conveniences, to be particularly compelling. This trip inspired two major oil paintings: The Lighthouse at Two Lights (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York) and Coast Guard Station (Montclair Art Museum, New Jersey).

The majority of Hopper's work in the summer of 1929 was, however, in watercolor—a medium conducive to working en plein air to capture the bright light of a summer day with immediacy and brilliance. In addition to Coast Guard Cove, he completed a dozen works on paper at Cape Elizabeth in 1929, with the majority now in museum collections including Lighthouse Village (Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio); Boat and Cliff (New Jersey State Museum Collection, Trenton); The Dory (Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri); Rocky Cove II and Rocks and Cove (both Whitney Museum of American Art, New York); House of the Fog Horn III (Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven); and Methodist Church (Tacoma Art Museum, Washington).

In Coast Guard Cove, Hopper geniously harnesses the bright white of the paper to create a focal point on the sunlit boat as it rests along the near shore amidst a pile of lobster traps. This foreground scene is separated by the body of water from the lookout turret peeking just above the horizon in the background. Gestural washes of bright blues and greens add a sense of vitality to the landscape, even as golden patches in the grass suggest the effects of a burning hot summer season. No figures, or even birds, are to be seen, and the water itself appears calm and still—as opposed to the typically rough coastal Maine waters. As a result, Hopper adds a sense of stillness to his idyllic picture of summer serenity, characteristically placing this work within his renowned ouevre of enigmatic imagery.

More from 20th Century Evening Sale

View All
View All