It is strange to think of Hopper as a historical painter. ‘Dawn Before Gettysburg’ doesn’t play nicely with the other historical pictures surrounding it in the Westervelt Warner collection in Tuscaloosa.
Tuscaloosa’s Hoppers were originally in the Gulf States Paper Corporation’s art collection. This is a big timber region. On the way down from Memphis to Tuscaloosa, the mixed pine and deciduous forests are impenetrable. An occasional dilapidated house, with a family relaxing on the porch, breaks up the journey.
My journey into the heart of the South begins the next day. Like the rumbling FedEx road trains, I am following the Mississippi south to Memphis. The river glistens in the rainy twilight, its massive breadth a reminder of its huge catchment area.
Amongst the first thirteen purchases for the Murdock Collection was Edward Hopper’s ‘Five A.M.’ (1937).