Catherine Ryan confirms Rockaway Hotel as another Gloucester Edward Hopper match with help from the Sibley family
I am hoping readers may think about this Gloucester Edward Hopper project when they peruse old family albums. Why? There are still more Edward Hopper locations in Gloucester to uncover, and the photos may help identify the original sites that inspired Hopper. More importantly, the photographs may provide opportunities for us to share and preserve Gloucester stories and create some new ones. As inspiration, I’d like to share photos and a personal account from Liz Fletcher and the Sibley family that has helped to support the identification of the Rockaway Hotel in one of the Hoppers, thanks to its distinctive staircase. The water and rocks endure.
Thank you so much Liz Fletcher and the Sibley family!
Artist Liz Fletcher wrote me:
“How well Hopper caught the higgledy piggledy hillside-clinging way people built these sturdy wooden houses.” She included the photo with her cousin climbing a fence, “because it shows the old Rocky Neck Yacht Club, the rest of the smaller buildings in the foreground of the (Hopper) painting were torn down when the condo conversion was done…The colors of the building are the same as it still was in the 50s, when we used to play there as kids in the off-season — that 4 or 5 story fire escape going up the back of the hotel was scary to climb. And those smaller buildings down at the water’s edge look just like the ones I remember as part of the hotel complex. The beach to the left of those buildings could be Oakes Cove, where they do the New Year’s Day Plunge nowadays.”
From the time artist Edward Hopper created his Gloucester images–in 1912, and then summers in the 1920s–there have been approximately 25 or so positive id’s on Gloucester homes, landscapes and structures that are featured in his art.
This core group of Gloucester Hoppers has been reproduced, studied, and included in important exhibitions. In the 1970s, Art Historian and Curator, Gail Levin, photographed then/now comparisons. Since Levin’s work, many other artists and Hopper aficionados have created series inspired by Hopper’s Gloucester images. But there are so many more Gloucester Hoppers! This quantity is news for Gloucester and for MA. Inspired by the Gloucester HarborWalk, I expanded on that core group to a count of over 100, and have identified the bulk of them. They’re collected into an on-line catalogue with contemporary snapshots and a google map of the locations, which Good Morning Gloucester featured here: https://goodmorninggloucester.wordpress.com/2012/07/24/catherine-ryan-kicks-the-ny-times-in-the-nuts-with-her-killer-edward-hopper-interactive-maps-and-photos-and-other-stuff/
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you find any photos that may help identify some Hoppers locations, and capture some additional Gloucester stories.
I’m looking for pictures of the homes and neighborhood around the Fort. Hopefully we can identify all of them, and who knows maybe inspire a gift of an original Hopper back to Gloucester for the Cape Ann Museum .
The most recent Hopper location I’ve identified is near Russell’s Florist and right before Lee’s Restaurant, on Eastern Ave. , as you’re heading into Gloucester downtown.