Edward Hopper’s (1882-1967) best-known paintings were done in the studio, but his evident mastery of light should make it unsurprising that Hopper scholars list more than 100 plein air paintings in his body of work. The Cape Cod Museum of Art and Addison Art Gallery are exploring this with “After Hopper,” an ambitious, two-year program that includes exhibitions, plein air painting by invited artists, lectures, and more. 

“The Marshall House,” by Steve Kennedy, oil, 16 x 20 in. This house was depicted in one of Hopper’s plein air pieces.

The key component of “After Hopper” is the gathering of artists in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, for a week of painting the scenes that inspired Hopper. From July 13 through July 17, an estimated 50 painters will create works at locations from Orleans to Provincetown. A chunk of the participating artists are associated with Addison Art Gallery, in Orleans, Massachusetts, the host of the exhibition of plein air work. (The gallery reception will be held Aug. 1.) 

Steve Kennedy painting in Truro, Hopper’s hometown and one of Hopper’s favorite painting locations on the Outer Cape

“Hopper’s approach to Truro’s landscape gave me a different insight,” says Cape Cod painter Elizabeth Pratt. “I began to take long walks off the main roads looking for ‘moors’ of rolling scrub vegetation, hollows nesting small old Cape Cod houses, golden grasses waving, bent pines, big spaces, and long views. I saw the purity of the balance and simple shapes of the buildings. I am so thankful that most of this is still there much as Hopper saw it and as when I began these hikes more than 40 years ago.”

The pieces will be on view at the Cape Cod Museum of Art, in Dennis, Massachusetts, from Aug. 29 through Nov. 15. Some of the art would go on to show in the Truro Public Library, to honor Hopper’s hometown, and in Wellfleet at the Wellfleet Public Library. In 2016, another round of exhibitions are planned.

“Old Guard, Truro,” by Maryalice Eizenberg, oil, 12 x 12 in.

In addition to the shows, there are lectures, plein air painting demonstrations, and an artists panel planned. See the complete schedule here.

“Bathed in the light of the Outer Cape, painting en plein air, it is impossible for me not to be inspired by Edward Hopper,” says Robert Abele, another artist participating in the project. “My only hope is that I filter what he has so masterfully done and paint with my own voice.”


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