Gloucester Daily Times: Commentary: Edward Hopper and Gloucester art

November 9, 2023

My View | John J. Ronan

The Edward Hopper exhibit at Cape Ann Museum was a jewel. Officially "Edward Hopper and Cape Ann: Illuminating an American Landscape," it attracted national attention and the public was still crowding in when I visited. In fact, it was the most successful show in CAM's 148 years, drawing over 30,000, beyond the usual totals for an entire year. The show was a real boost for the museum and, as the late Gloucester poet Vincent Ferrini liked to point out, art also boosts the economy. Speaking of which, the exhibit catalog is still available as well as Wayne Soini's novel on Hopper and his wife, "Ed and Jo."

The timing, during the city's 400th anniversary and the quality of the exhibited art, is a result of wise planning and hard work. These accolades can be repeated in reference to the Stuart Davis exhibit, which ran at the same time. It honored a very different painter but one who also loved Gloucester and actually owned a house on Mt. Pleasant Street. The city owes much to the taste and energy that put these two shows together. CAM itself is a jewel and is playing, as they say on the basetball courts, above the rim. My hat is off to Director Oliver Barker.

It's right that Gloucester should celebrate painters. After all, Fitz Henry Lane is a patron saint, and John Sloan, Childe Hassam, Winslow Homer, the Gruppes and many others have lived and worked here. Of course, Gloucester's  welcome has extended to other arts.

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John J. Ronan is a former poet laureate for the city of Gloucester and host of "The Writer's Block" at 1623 Studios.

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