Next to approach the painting was a woman with brown eyes, a diamond-shaped nose tip, and a gold chain around her neck. She wore peek-a-boo clothing: a sheer pink blouse beneath a coat and pants of translucent white gauze. I saw through her black open-toed shoes that she had painted her toenails pink. She answered my questions about Hopper in a languid foreign accent--maybe French or Russian. She pronounced Hopper's name "Hooper."
"They're not warm fuzzy little doggies," she said with stern approval. "They're all lonely. Always a feeling I like. Really good for an American. Not many Americans have great paint, but he is one who is really take my attention. Someone was showing me. They open book and say 'that is Hooper.' I like it! He has a different style; is like style of old masters. I don't know this picture, but really good."
When I left her and went outside, the day had grown hot. Off shore, a house drifted past as if in a dream. The Aussie with the newspaper had pointed out on its front page a photo of a mansion being moved on a barge. "It's very popular amongst the wealthy here to move the home that way," he said. A house on a barge seemed a perfect blend of Hopper's themes: architecture, travel, sailing, and isolation. I imagined that I saw in it an august, turreted room full of dusty collectibles and statues.
Out on Dixie Highway, a long line of cars went past, following a large black hearse.