Hopper was a dedicated observer of everyday life, paying careful attention to the changing architecture in cities and towns where he spent time. The U.S. Customs House in Portland, Maine, one of the city’s finest post-Civil War buildings, is a three-story granite building in the French Second Empire style. Here, Hopper depicts the building as seen from street level with a utility pole obstructing the view. He juxtaposes it with an undistinguished commercial structure in the background. By not focusing on the grander style, he thus minimizes its architectural significance.
Born in Nyack, New York, 1882
Died in New York, 1967
Custom House, Portland, 1927
Opaque and transparent watercolor over graphite on wove paper
Gift of Robert W. Huntington, 1946.232