"My aim in painting," explained Edward Hopper, "has always been the most exact transcription possible of my most intimate impressions of nature." Claiming the figures in Cape Cod Evening were done almost entirely without models, and the dry, blowing grass could be seen from his studio window in the late summer or autumn, Hopper continued: "In the woman I attempted to get the broad, strong-jawed face and blond hair of a Finnish type of which there are many on the Cape. The man is a dark-haired Yankee. The dog is listening to something, probably a whippoorwill or some evening sound."
Despite his matter-of-fact account, Hopper also has endowed this ostensibly straightforward work with a strong, albeit ambiguous, emotional undercurrent. The sense of eerie calm is due, in part, to the serene effect of the golden twilight sun that illuminates the grass in front of the Victorian house, but fails to penetrate the dense forest beyond. The middle-aged rural couple seem to lack any emotional rapport; they project a mood of self-absorption, futility, and alienation that typifies much of Hopper's figurative work.
lower right: Edward Hopper; lower right on reverse of frame: frame made for / Edward Hopper by / Carl Sandelin framemaker / 133 E 60th St NYC.
(Frank K.M. Rehn Gallery, New York), at least in 1943. Encyclopaedia Britannica Collection, New York, by 1945; purchased 1948 by William Benton, New York; purchased 14 September 1950 by John Hay Whitney [1904-1982], Manhasset, New York; deeded 1982 to the John Hay Whitney Charitable Trust, New York; gift 1982 to NGA.
- American Realists and Magic Realists, Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1943, no. 18.
- Edward Hopper Retrospective Exhibition, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Detroit Institute of Arts, 1950, no. 51, pl. 17.
- National Institute of Arts and Letters, New York, 1955.
- The John Hay Whitney Collection, Tate Gallery, London, 1960-1961, no. 34, repro.
- Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 1963.
- Edward Hopper, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Art Institute of Chicago; Detroit Institute of Arts; City Art Museum of St. Louis, 1964-1965, no. 35, repro.
- Edward Hopper: The Art and The Artist, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Hayward Gallery, London; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Stadtische Kunsthalle, Dusseldorf; Art Institute of Chicago; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 1980-1982, unnumbered catalogue, pl. 418.
- The John Hay Whitney Collection, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1983, no. 70, repro.
- Edward Hopper, Musée Cantini, Marseille; Fundación Juan March, Madrid, 1989-1990, unnumbered catalogue and repro. (Marseille), no. 18 and repro. (Madrid).
- Edward Hopper 1882-1967, Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt; Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, 1992-1993, no. 68, repro.
- Edward Hopper und die Fotografie, Museum Folkwang Essen, Germany, 1992, unnumbered catalogue, repro.
- Edward Hopper and the American Imagination, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 1995, unnumbered catalogue, pl. 38.
- American Light: Selections from the National Gallery of Art, Art Museum of Western Virginia, Roanoke, May-August 1998, no catalogue.
- Gifts to the Nation from Mr. and Mrs. John Hay Whitney, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1998-1999, no catalogue.
- Treasures of Light: Paintings from the National Gallery of Art, Dixon Gallery and Gardens, Memphis, March-April 1998, no catalogue.
- Edward Hopper, Tate Modern, London; Museum Ludwig, Cologne, 2004-2005, unnumbered catalogue, repro.
- Full House: Views of the Whitney's Collection at 75, Whitney Museum of Art, New York, 2006.
- Edward Hopper, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Art Institute of Chicago, 2007-2008, no. 93, repro.
- Hopper, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid; Réunion des Musées Nationaux and Galeries nationales du Grand Palais, Paris, 2012-2013, no. 51, repro.
- Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Rev. ed. New York, 1984: 571, no. 870, color repro.
- Wilmerding, John. American Masterpieces from the National Gallery of Art. Rev. ed. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1988: 180, no. 67, color repro.
- American Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1992: 206, repro.
- National Gallery of Art, Washington. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1992: 251, repro.
- Kirsh, Andrea, and Levenson, Rustin S. Seeing Through Paintings: Physical Examination in Art Historical Studies. Physical Examination in Art Historical Studies, vol. 1. New Haven, 2000: 164-165, color fig. 170.
- Hand, John Oliver. National Gallery of Art: Master Paintings from the Collection. Washington and New York, 2004: 405, no. 336, color repro.
- Little, Carl. Edward Hopper's New England. San Francisco, 2011: 18, 82-83, color plate 31.
- Brock, Charles. “George Bellows: An Unfinished Life.” In George Bellows ed. Charles Brock (Exh. cat. Washington 2012). Munich, 2012: 26, color fig. 20.