Edward Hopper, Dauphinee House, 1932 (oil on canvas)
I sometimes go out looking for something. It’s always a toss-up whether I’ll find it. The real delight is stumbling onto something you don’t expect.
As I’ve written before, it’s impossible to avoid Edward Hopper’s ghost in South Truro. But returning forest often obscures his most iconic views. The advent of modern roads also detours us from the routes he routinely took. And, of course, the railroad’s been gone my entire life.
Dauphinee House on 12 October 2021.
In retrospect, it seems obvious that I would find this house where I did, but in hiking down Phat’s Valley Road, I’d set out to find a path to the southern jetty of Pamet Harbor. To my delight I found the Dauphinee House and remains of the railroad dike across the Mill Pond marsh.
Setting aside the absent railroad, it’s surprising how little this house has changed. Sure, it’s been tarted up with shutters, but who knows? Hopper is known to have altered many details in his depictions of local houses to fit his aesthetic sensibility (follow the link below to Beth Chapman’s virtual tour for details). I love the small details that remain — the scattered railroad ties on the ground, the mysterious granite post. This was never on the beaten track, and it’s curious to think about Hopper setting up by the side of that dirt road, slightly up the embankment.
For many years, Beth Chapman offered tours of Hopper’s Cape Cod sites. A wonderful virtual tour she gave during the pandemic through the Truro Historical Society is archived on their site.
The railroad dike on 12 October 2021.
Dauphinee House different angles.
Field Guide: Walking & Painting on Cape Cod is a fundraiser to support Provincetown Commons’ artist studios, co-working facility, meeting spaces and exhibition gallery. Please donate at our website: https://www.provincetowncommons.org/fieldguide-walkingandpaintingcapecod