Edward Hopper (American, 18821967)
Watercolor on paper; 21 1/4 x 27 1/8 in. (54 x 68.9 cm)
George A. Hearn Fund, 1945 (45.157.2)
Hopper and his wife Jo traveled to Mexico in the summer of 1943, seeking a change of scene and new subjects for Hopper's art. After stopping in Mexico City, they traveled 500 miles north to Saltillo, a smaller city whose cool, dry climate and views of nearby mountains made it a popular destination for vacationers. The Hoppers stayed at a hotel called the Guarhado House on Victoria Street, and Hopper painted several watercolors from the hotel roof. From this height, he could see the mountains over the buildings of the city, but his depictions of the scene still suggest the urban development that was blocking his enjoyment of the natural setting. In another work, he showed the colorful towers of Saltillo's eighteenth-century cathedral, a reminder of the city's roots as a Spanish settlement; here, however, he limits his scope to a partial view of some domestic architecture. The houses' simple, blocklike forms, trimmed with lattices and decorative carving, are a dazzling white against the sky and the distant hills. Hopper had initially complained that Saltillo was noisy and congested, but from his rooftop he could project onto this new setting the same stillness and solitude that pervaded his scenes of New York and New England.