I find Chapel Hill’s Hopper nestled amidst verdant forest. Chapel Hill is a college town of the University of North Carolina (UNC). On Chapel Hill’s main street, amputee panhandlers and drunk manic depressives alternately yell at each other, passers-by and police.
The beautiful Edward Hopper watercolor at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta was once known as ‘Cape Elizabeth’. However, it was posthumously changed to ‘Foreshore-Two Lights’ (1927). Two Lights is a rocky point with two lighthouses at the tip of Cape Elizabeth peninsula, Maine. So beautiful is it that Jo Hopper wrote about ‘Foreshore-Two Lights’, ‘This one of his best sea pictures [sic], calmly dramatic but making no claims.’
It’s a bare-knuckled, ten hour drive on the interstate from Sarasota to the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. We pass roaring wildfires and navigate snarled traffic. But even that isn’t enough to keep me awake.
An empty Starbucks in the middle of Georgia offers relief in the form of twenty ounces of scalding coffee. My mother offers to drive. But she is uninsured and I am in debt.
She tells bad ‘knock, knock’ jokes until the caffeine kicks in. We finally hit Atlanta in time for a beautiful summer’s dusk.
The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota is the state art museum of Florida. At the time of my visit, it is undergoing major renovations. Sadly, its Hopper watercolor ‘Jenness House Looking North’ (1934) is packed deep in storage and unavailable for viewing. Instead, I pore over the watercolor’s correspondence and papers. These offer a fascinating view of Hopper’s life in Cape Cod.