Edward Hopper (1882-1967)
October on Cape Cod
oil on canvas 26 1/4 x 42 1/4 in. (66.7 x 107.3 cm)
Painted in 1946.
October 28, 2012, source: Christie's
"October on Cape Cod" presents a view of a house and small barn from across a deserted road, as one would observe the scene from the window of a passing car. The work is permeated by profound silence and stillness. Gone is the clear blue, summer sky, replaced by the subtle, gray-tinged autumn light.
Hopper first visited Cape Cod with his wife, Jo, in 1930, renting a house in South Truro for three summers before building a home and studio there in 1934. The couple began to spend six months there almost every year and Hopper found an abundance of subject matter in the unassuming homes and buildings that populated the peninsula as well as the sandy dunes and crystalline light that give it its distinct character. He drove around the Cape in search of subject matter, often drawing and painting from his car, a practice that he undertook in various locations throughout his career as far away as the Oregon coast. This imbues his works with a sense of distance, often making the viewer feel like a voyeur, rather than a participant in the scene.
Large-scale works such as October on Cape Cod were the result of an arduous creative process, during which every pictorial aspect was well-considered before Hopper picked up his brush. This process was so emotionally and time intensive that Hopper usually only completed one to two canvases a year.
"Painted in the artist’s signature style, October on Cape Cod is a large-scale work from 1946, and is one of the last paintings by the artist to remain in private hands", explained Elizabeth Sterling, Head of American Art at Christie’s in New York.