76 Boston: MFA

The Boston Museum of Fine Arts was "very very." With an entrance fee of twelve dollars, it was by far the most expensive that I had to visit. The museum's fee, size, and opulence were reminders of the culture-keepers, the "Boston Brahmins," who funded this institution.

And the Hopper paintings here were "very very" indicative of Hopper's main themes. Drug Store shows a brightly lit storefront on a deserted street at night, like the restaurant in Nighthawks. "EX-LAX" is prominently displayed across the drug store's eave, helping it stand out as it would if you needed EX-LAX. Hopper changed that to EX-LAS from fear that the painting would not sell. Instead, the sympathetic buyer insisted Hopper change it back to EX-LAX.

Room in Brooklyn shows a woman alone in her apartment in a chair looking out a window onto endless red brick tenements. Hopper claimed that this was the only work in which he included flowers, in a vase on the table beside the woman. "The so-called beauty [of flowers] is all there," he said. "You can't add anything to them of your own."

When the museum bought the painting, Edward's handwritten note of thanks said, "There is not a great deal to be said … It was largely improvised." Recognizing Boston's reputation as an academic town, Hopper added, "It is agreeable to me if any student should wish to copy the picture." Jo explained that Hopper "thought the [Brooklyn Bridge] would clutter up the picture. He loathes clutter so left out the bridge (and more or less Brooklyn…)."

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