Edward Hopper: Bass Rocks. 1924
A distinguishing feature of this work
Is that there are no rocks in it.
I suppose there must be some in the water,
And maybe some bass to be caught near them,
But there is only an inkling of the shore in it,
And a whipped-cream topping of some waves.
Most of the space is occupied by the sky-pastel-blue
Overhead, and the sun-whitened sand underneath,
And the cloudy white of the horizon.
There are a few bathers, heavily armored against
The sun’s harmful rays. And the air was probably
Seasonally chilled as well. There are three umbrellas,
Two deck chairs, and a surprisingly diverse smattering
Of human beings, in a variety of hats and caps.
What I learn is that wearing a hat myself,
Or a Yankees’ cap, might have spared me the plague of
Basal Cell Carcinomas with which I am now afflicted.
Some fresh sea air might not have hurt my damaged lungs
Either. Oh, yeah, and we also learn that the exposure
Of an American artist to European Impressionism—
Some study in France, for instance--
Did not automatically foster the production of
A Major Period in even a Major Artist’s career.