The Cat Boat
1882 Nyack – New York 1967
The Catboat, 1922
etching on wove paper; 8 x 10 inches
signed in pencil at lower right Edward Hopper
Provenance: private collection
A fine rich impression, printed in black ink on the white wove paper favored by Hopper.
The Philadelphia Museum has an extensive collection of Hopper prints, including proofs, and its web site shows its eight states of The Cat Boat, as well as the preliminary drawing for the print. These may be progress proofs, one to a state; we have not encountered other proof states of the print, and know of no definitive documentation of the states of Hopper prints. In all likelihood, then, our impression is of the definitive state.
Gail Levin, in her Edward Hopper: The Complete Prints, writes that his later etchings were often carefully worked out in preliminary drawings, and notes that the “first state of The Cat Boat is dramatically different from the final state. The foliage is only lightly sketched, the water lacks definition, and parts of the rigging are omitted (p. 14). But the basic composition from the drawing and through the progressive proofs or states was unchanged; for the most part Hopper added crosshatching or additional shading lines to focus, strengthen, and sharpen the composition.
The number of impressions of The Cat Boat printed is not known, but impressions are rare; it was Hopper’s practice to print impressions (and he printed them personally) on request rather than print an edition.
A catboat (alternate spelling: cat boat), or a cat-rigged sailboat is a sailing vessel characterized by a single mast carried well forward (i.e., near the bow of the boat).