CARTERFOSTER: The Camel’s Hump refers to a hill in Truro on Cape Cod, in Massachusetts. Hopper starts to go there regularly in the early 1930s. Eventually he would build a house and studio there that he would inhabit for the rest of his life, spending the summers there.
Something important to understand about the way Hopper viewed his art, he talked about it in two different ways. He talked about working from the fact, which we would call painting or drawing from life or from direct observation. And then he talked about improvisation, which we could just refer to as his imagination. And these were two modes that were, in some ways, in tension in Hopper’s work. He loved to paint and draw from life, but when he was back in his studio, he was interested in figuring out how to paint a subject using his own imagination based on his direct observation. So this drawing is an example of him working outside, from the fact, directly in front of the motif that interested him. We’ll see in other drawings that they’re completely imagined and come straight from his head.