Coast Guard Station, Two Lights, Maine, 1927. Edward Hopper. Watercolor, gouache and charcoal on paper. The Lesley and Emma Sheafer Collection, Bequest of Emma A. Sheafer, 1973.
On his repeated summer visits to Cape Elizabeth, Maine, Hopper painted several views of the Two Lights lighthouses and a Coast Guard station that stood in an adjacent cove. In Hopper's ledger, this location, with its white sand and vivid blue water, is described as having a "very clean & swept look" (Artist's ledger, Whitney Museum of American Art). His composition of the Coast Guard station and its landscape is similarly and appropriately clean. The water and the rocks in the foreground are painted in loose, limpid washes of color, and the repeated angles of the station's various gables, punctuated by the slender vertical of the flagpole that rises from its roof, are more tightly delineated. This is a sunny, tranquil landscape whose subject nonetheless alludes to the darker possibilities of dangerous rescues from the ocean. Hopper had worked very little in watercolor before 1923. However, he soon demonstrated a mastery of the medium after his wife Jo, who was also an artist, encouraged him to utilize it for his outdoor studies.