The Catboat BY EDWARD HOPPER
OF MOST OF EDWARD HOPPER’S paintings and etchings it would be true to
say that they are completely static. The lens of his artistic vision has flicked
open for a fraction of a second, and caught the material selected in one of the
succession of tiny unmoving postures of which motion is made.
The houses, boats, and people in his pictures have just moved or changed, may be about
. to move or change again; at the exact fraction of a second in which they are
revealed they are neither changing nor moving.
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It is indeed an impersonal and motionless and unchanging world. In The Catboat, water, boat, and sail
are lovingly, convincingly etched. But the entire scene has been silenced, made
rigid forever. The men are mere incidents in the design, the hilly background
a changeless unpopulated land.
Here is none of the swinging motion Winslow Homer knew how to portray,
but rather, the beautifully architectural drawing of a boat and its rigging by
a man who loves things for their tactile, palpable surfaces, their suggestions of
ponderability and depth> their way of catching and reflecting light. It is the
extremely well seen and smoothly set down vision of an intensely obj ective man.