An Edward Hopper Scrapbook

Brooklyn Museum Emphasizes New Talent in Initial Exhibition

Paintings by Contemporary Water Colorists and Large Collection of Beardsley Drawings Shown—Dudley Mygatt's Paintings Have First Brooklyn Showing

By Helen Appleton Read

… Among the artistic intelligentsia of Greater New York certain names have come to stand for the last word in water color painting, than which there is nothing better; Marin, Demuth, heading the modernist group; Dodge McKnight and Sargent heading the traditional. None of these names appears in the catalogue, simply because this is not a rehash of other water color shows, excellent as those others may have been. Incidentally many of the exhibitors are members of the Brooklyn Water Color Club. Notwithstanding that this exhibition is not reminiscent, we will find many familiar names in the catalogue, but names which we have heretofore only associated with other mediums, as for instance Wayman Adams, the portrait painter, and Edward Hopper, the etcher, and men such as Costigan, whom one always associated with canvases heavily loaded with paint.

One of the delightful things about the present exhibition is that while its reason d'itre [sic] is that it should not be reminiscent of other exhibitors it is also not reminiscent of the mannerisms and technique of the water color stars.

Sargent Influence Conspicuously Absent.

The exciting manner of Sargent is not omnipresent on the exhibition walls, that despair and admiration of the many painters who essayed water color after the Sargent collection showed them what could be done with a medium so long regarded as a polite vehicle of expression for the artistic activities of young ladies.

If there is any influence it is more the vital and simple manner of Homer that one finds. Certainly Edward Hopper suggests him. He, too, believes in the authority of big simple forms over the effect attained by brilliant brush work. The Hopper group, despite its tendency to blackness of color, understandable in an artist who has devoted himself to black and white, is one of the high spots in the exhibition. What vitality and force and directness! Observe what can be done with the homeliest subject if only one possesses the seeing eye. A yellow frame house of the ordinary suburban model or an 1890 mansion of the mansard roof type is not exactly paintable if seen as such. But Mr. Hopper shows us the mansard mansion with a gale almost blowing its awnings away, the whole merely an excuse on which to hang an exposition of clear, bright, windswept atmosphere. Mr. Hopper also painted tugboats and ship's machinery with an equally seeing eye. His choice of subjects remind me of those late 1890 discussions occasioned by Kipling's poems, "The Liner She's a Lady," as to whether a work of art could really be a work of art of the first order if its subject dealt with steamboats and engines.


Helen Appleton Read, "Brooklyn Museum Emphasizes New Talent in Initial Exhibition," Brooklyn Daily Eagle (18 November 1923), p. 2B.