The opening of “Edward Hopper, etc.” at the National Gallery of Art on Sunday, September 16 is drawing a group of Massachusetts residents concerned about the fate of the artist’s summer house and studio in Truro, Massachusetts. The group is traveling to Washington to alert visitors to the show, a major retrospective of the painter acclaimed for his capture of 20th century American life, that a proposed mansion on the land, next to the artist’s former studio will destroy the view that inspired Hopper for more than 30 years.
Plans for the two-story 6,500 square-foot house, with swimming pool, reflecting pools and wine cellar, have generated petitions from over 400 local residents and visitors calling attention to the imminent risk posed to what is known as the Hopper Landscape. The quiet and isolated landscape lured the American realist to build his summer home here where he created many of his most famous paintings, several of which will be on view at the National Gallery until WHEN. Among the famous works associated with the landscape are "Hills, South Truro," "Camel's Hump," "Rooms by the Sea," and "Cape Cod Evening."
Edward Hopper and his wife, Josephine, first came to Truro in 1930. They built the Cape Cod-style house and studio four years later and spent six months of every year there until his death in 1967. The family that inherited it following Josephine’s death a year later has faithfully preserved the house. The artist’s easel still stands next to the large north-facing studio window, a kind of sentinel over the landscape he immortalized which old-timers in Truro refer to as the Hogsback.
Virtually unchanged since the construction of the Hopper residence itself, the Hopper Landscape also has great environmental significance. In addition to protecting nearly ½ mile of dune land and sandy beach, it is a classic example of the grassy heath community that has been disappearing on Cape Cod with the spread of building and landscaped development. Grassy heath is considered rare and is noteworthy for many distinct plant species and habitat for such endangered species as the spade foot toad, box turtle and northern harrier. Perhaps of most significance is the exceptional abundance and density of Broom crowberry in the area, which grows in very few locations in North America and is classified as rare by the Massachusetts Natural Heritage Program.
Thanks to the contributions of neighbors several years ago, the Truro Conservation Trust acquired a key parcel in the Hopper Landscape. In addition, the Trust was given a restriction on an adjoining property that prevents any future development of the site. One other parcel, while not presenting the same immediate threat, may also be slated for development. The entire area is located just outside the protective boundaries of the Cape Cod National Seashore where it crosses this narrow portion of the Outer Cape to span the wooded hillsides stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to Cape Cod Bay. –more-
Recently, the Massachusetts Historical Commission declared the Hopper House and Landscape as eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places as a potential National Register historic district.
The Cape Cod Commission, a regional planning agency with oversight of development considered to have regional impact on the Cape’s historic and environmental resources, will be taking up the question of whether to study the proposed mansion as a Development of Regional Impact at its meeting on September 20.
The controversial project has been the subject of a front-page story in the Boston Globe and numerous articles in Cape newspapers over the past month. The Truro group, led by artist Nathalie Ferrier, hopes that the Hopper Show in Washington will call the nation’s attention to the imminent danger facing the site and subject so strongly linked to one of America’s greatest artists.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION
CONTACT: Nathalie Ferrier
Phone # 508-349-1795