Gibbes Museum of Art acquires Edward Hopper painting of Charleston

The Gibbes Museum of Art announced its acquisition of Edward Hopper’s The Battery, Charleston, S.C. on March 28, 2024. The painting is now on view in the museum’s permanent collection galleries. Often recognized as one of 20th century America’s most famous artists, Edward Hopper (1882–1967) is best known for his New York and New England land and cityscapes.

In 1929, accompanied by his wife Josephine, Hopper traveled to Charleston, South Carolina for three weeks, welcoming the change of scenery from their usual coastal refuges in New England. This journey provided inspiration for The Battery, Charleston, S.C., which depicts a site visually synonymous with the seaport city, its early colonial history and the start of the American Civil War.

This iconic location, The Battery, was no doubt a setting that Hopper was familiar with prior to his sojourn South. His picture presents a vista of the landmark seawall and promenade at the southeast corner of White Point Gardens, with a view of the harbor and Castle Pinckney on Shutes Folly Island in the distance.

“The Gibbes is honored to welcome a work by this iconic American artist into our collection, especially one so closely tied to our beloved city,” Gibbes President and CEO Angela Mack said. “This acquisition not only celebrates the artistic brilliance of Edward Hopper, but it provides us with a timeless portrayal of a historical landscape, deepening our understanding of Charleston’s cultural heritage.”

Hopper’s quiet, tropical scene emphasizes the artist’s renowned ability to capture solitary moments while in deep communion with his immediate environment. Painted three years prior to the installation of the Confederate War Memorial sculpture, The Battery, Charleston, S.C. offers a rare glimpse into Hopper’s significant engagement with the city. In addition to being exhibited at the Gibbes on two prior occasions, the piece has been exhibited both nationally and internationally by esteemed venues including the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, the High Museum of Art, the Seattle Art Museum, the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Toledo Museum of Art, the San Jose Museum of Art, the Speed Museum of Art, the Newport Museum of Art, Wales and the LWL Museum of Art and Culture in Münster, Germany, among others.

Among the eleven watercolor paintings completed by Hopper during his visit to Charleston, all but one now grace museum collections, solidifying his enduring legacy in the realm of American art.

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