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Edward Hopper's Vermont watercolors featured in new book by Bonnie Tocher Clause
In 1937 and '38, Edward Hopper made a series of little-known watercolors of scenes along the White River in South Royalton, Vermont, shown here in August 2012. Hopper's Vermont sojourns are the subject of a new book from the University Press of New England. Photo: Bonnie Tocher Clause, author, Edward Hopper in Vermont.

LEBANON, NH.- Edward Hopper's plein air watercolors of rural Vermont evidence another side of the artist known for his iconic depictions of urban loneliness and isolation. During summer excursions between 1927 and 1938, Hopper recorded his singular interpretations of the Vermont landscape, watercolors and drawings of hillsides and meadows, roadside views, and scenes along the White River against the backdrop of the Green Mountains. These little-known works, rarely published, are reproduced sequentially in Edward Hopper in Vermont (University Press of New England) along with the stories of their creation and their subsequent acquisition by private collectors and museums.

Bonnie Tocher Clause traces Edward and Jo Hopper's automobile trips through Vermont as they searched for new places to paint. These journeys resulted first in a few paintings of barns and farm buildings, more typically Hopperesque, and later in a series of "pure" landscapes, unusual for Hopper in their lack of architectural form or other signs of human presence. They are also distinctive in the techniques and palette that Hopper used to capture the particular colors and quality of light of the Vermont landscape.

Clause establishes Hopper's Vermont sojourns and works within his personal and professional biography and in the context of Vermont during the Great Depression. She locates the sites shown in Hopper's paintings and includes vintage photographs of the Slaters' farm in South Royalton, where the Hoppers boarded in 1937 and 1938. Letters from Jo Hopper to Irene Slater, published here for the first time, document the warm friendship that developed between the New York artists and the Vermont farm family. Edward Hopper, often described as "silent," apparently felt at home among laconic Vermonters.

A final chapter traces the journeys of each of the Vermont paintings and drawings, from the initial sale at the Rehn Galleries in New York through a series of owners to their present homes. These vignettes—about who bought the Vermont Hoppers, and why—constitute glimpses into the history of art collecting from the 1940s through today.

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