Philip Koch, Rooms by the Sea III, oil on panel, 8 2/3 x 13", 2014
Edward Hopper (with Jo Hopper in the background)
sitting in front of the Truro studio in a photo by Arnold Newman
In 1983 I began a long series of residencies in Edward Hopper's studio. He chose to build it high on the ridge of a sand dune overlooking Cape Cod Bay in S. Truro. The artist had scouted out the location in 1930 during his first extended stay on Cape Cod. He even lovingly painted the site that would later be home to his studio in his 1930 oil Hills, South Truro pictured below (now in the Cleveland Museum of Art). It suited the reclusive Hopper perfectly as back then the Cape was a far lonelier place.
My painting Rooms by the Sea III was painted on location in the large painting room Hopper reserved for himself ( he made his wife Jo, also an artist, paint in the small bedroom and kitchen). The view is of the doorway leading to his bedroom on the left and on the right his Dutch door leading out towards the Bay. This is the same corner of his painting room that inspired his famous oil Rooms by the Sea shown below (now in the art museum at Yale).
The following oil was made looking through the other doorway into the bedroom- I had set up my easel in the kitchen and decided to focus on the wonderful rhythms of the three open doors. The light in the bedroom floods in from Hopper's huge painting room.
Philip Koch, Edward Hopper's Bedroom, Truro, MA, oil on
panel, 10 x 5", 2011
The most recent of the three oils at Addison Art Gallery is this oil below painted with my easel set up in the room where Hopper slept half of each year for 3 decades. It shows the two doors pictured in the background of the above painting seen from a different angle.
In the distance at the right is the easel Hopper used. It's an ordinary wooden easel like one can buy today from any art supply store. Its ordinariness belies the amazing work that was created on it. At the left is the view out the bedroom window that greeted Hopper each morning when he woke up.
Philip Koch, Truro Studio Bedroom & Easel, oil on panel
7 x 10 1/2", 2015
I am often asked what I've discovered about Hopper by staying and working in his studio 15 separate times over the years. More than anything I've been struck by the unpretentious beauty of the studio and the sweeping views it afforded Hopper. Yet Hopper did almost no paintings of either the impressive immediate surroundings or of the studio itself. Instead he was committed to searching out subjects at a distance from the studio. He drove around the outer Cape a lot, always on high alert for just the right material to express his deep inner feeling. One reason Hopper painted so well was he kept looking longer, searching with a remarkably sharpened selectivity
Here's a photo my wife Alice snapped of me walking up the winding path that leads up to the studio from the beach far below. The path was made by Edward and Jo Hopper picking their way down the steep sides of their sand dune to reach the shore. All these years later Edward and Jo are gone, but the path remains.
Save the Date:
Philip Koch talk at the Cape Cod Museum of Art
On Thursday, Sept. 3 I'll be giving a slide talk on Hopper's life on Cape Cod and my residencies in the Hopper studio. Here is a link for more information- http://www.addisonart.com/event/after-hopper-philip-koch-slide-talk/