Bow of the Beam Trawler Widgeon
North America, American, Maine
14 in. x 20 in. (35.56 cm x 50.8 cm)
Medium and Support:
Watercolor and graphite on paper
Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Montgomery, Alabama, The Blount Collection
© Heirs of Josephine N. Hopper. Licensed by ARS, New York, NY
Some of Edward Hopper’s most successful paintings relate to ships and the sea. As a teenager in Nyack he built his own small sail boat, and he was consistently drawn to the water. When outside of New York City, Hopper was never far from the sea for very long, and a sizable number of the maritime subjects he painted were executed in watercolor, the medium he used most frequently when he traveled.
"Bow of the Beam Trawler Widgeon" is an example of an early watercolor by Hopper. In the early 1920s, Hopper habitually left New York in the summer to paint in the coastal areas of Gloucester and Provincetown. He painted this work in the summer of 1926 when he and his wife Jo were on a boat trip along the Penobscot River from Bangor to Rockland, Maine, and from there down the coast to Gloucester, Massachusetts. The trawlers were mechanized fishing vessels powered initially by steam, later by diesel, engines, and outfitted for ground fishing with nets. They replaced the fishing schooners of the nineteenth century when fishermen used the traditional, labor-intensive method of casting hand-baited hooks.
American Paintings from the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, 2006, cat. no. 61, p. 154.