Saturday, April 19, 2008

Rampant Emotions

Edward Hopper's "Hodgkin's House", painted in Gloucester, Massachusetts, in 1928. My birthmother, Gertrude Hodgkins, was born in 1912. She was 16 years old when Hopper set up his easel across the street and painted this work.

I first learned of the painting when an Architectural Digest cover showed it hanging over the mantle of David Geffen's estate in Malibu or Beverly Hills or one of those posh neighborhoods.

For some reason I got the impression that it was the house that my grandmother grew up in. I don't now remember why I thought that, but it must be based on genealogical research I had done. When I saw it today and started thinking about the dates, I think it must have been the house my mother grew up in, not her mother.

I snapped a photo with my camera when the guard happened to be looking the other way, not realizing that photography was prohibited. Then I went back and tried to snap another and was prevented from doing so. I'm feeling pretty lucky to have gotten this one pic.

It was very moving to me to see this painting today. I wish I had known the people who lived there. I think that most of all I feel sorry for the Little Adoptee who never fit in anywhere, who never felt she belonged.

Every child deserves to know she belongs.


Matt said...

Thank you for the post! I discovered it as I was searching for information about the house that Hopper depicted in this painting. I too am a descendant of the Hodgkins who lived on Washington Street in Gloucester. I would love to know 1) which Hodgkins family member owned the house when Hopper painted it, 2)and what the street number is.

Jan Crews said...

Matt, thank you so much for your note.

My birthmother was Gertrude Hodgkins. Her father was John Hicks Hodgkins, born 1897. Her mother was Helen Griffin. On the 1910 census, they lived at 17 Derby Street.

Do you have the year Hopper painted it? I can do some more research.


Matt said...

Thank you for the reply. The Hopper painting was done in the summer of 1928. I would be happy to tell you more about my connections to the area and what I know about the Hodgkins family, but I don't really want to do it here. I didn't see an email address on your site, but I would be happy to email the info to you. Thanks again!

Jan Crews said...

Matt, I'm jancrews at gmail.