Greetings from ME: Heaven at Bowdoin

Not heaven, but Hopper at Bowdoin College of Art Museum.

Bowdoin College is located in Brunswick, Maine. It is a midcoastal town of 21,500 people, 25 miles from Portland and about 120 miles from Boston. It has a great little Japanese Restaurant, called Little Tokyo. Someone in the parking lot said to me, as if I was a Mainer, we have come from California, is this the Bowdoin? Hopper has that effect on some people. Something more like the shots below.

The show is the traditional Hopper of Maine in a few works, but the real showstoppers are the 20 or so small oil sketches in the first room. With a palette more like in the photos here, this is Hopper as I had only hoped to see him. Not studied, but working out of a broader palette with loose, greasy brushwork done summers on Monhegan, the artist island colony. Wonderful.

The only drag was a no photo show thing. Since there were so many gems. The real drawback must have been the main painting which is shown in part here on the poster, Captain Upton’s House, 1927, which sits in a private collection. A wonderful work, typical Hopper Maine, those blues of the sky against coastal white structures.

The difference between the wonderful show in Rome two springs ago, was that you saw the finish and sketches together. Large charcoal and pencil drawings, hung with finished paintings the same size. Here, the sketches form a universe. Coast Guard House (shown here) from the Montclair Museum and a sketch next to it, were interesting to see.

There are drawings and etchings shown together, which give more insight into Hopper. The Bowdoin has done a wonderful job, along with the Whitney for allowing the show. The Portland Museum also lent work.

Oh, yes, it cost nothing.

If you’re an art nut it was heaven and Hopper at Bowdoin. Forget the snooty Fartsworth. Unfortunately, it was the last hours/last day of the show.

Check out what luck I had in Rome last year with a Hopper show.


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