A Town Tries to Protect an Artist's Inspiration
By KATIE ZEZIMA
Published: September 20, 2007
TRURO, Mass. — Walking the beaches and dunes of South Truro, it is easy to see how the artist Edward Hopper and countless others were captivated by the scenery, a sweeping expanse of sand and sunlight bouncing off Cape Cod Bay.
Now some worry that the view from Hopper's small whitewashed home is in jeopardy, as well as the home itself. The parcel has become the subject of controversy, with some residents trying to protect what they see as a piece of American artistic history and others defending the right of a property owner to build what he wishes on his land.
In May, Donald and Andrea Kline bought 9.3 acres next to Hopper's house for $6.75 million. They plan to build a house that, with a garage and a pool, is expected to be about 6,500 square feet, according to a sewer application.
Expansive houses dot the dunes here. But the Klines' proposal has angered some residents who say it will sit atop a ridge directly in the "Hopper Landscape," a swath of land visible from a large, north-facing window that allowed into Hopper's home the light he found so captivating. Hopper first came to Truro in 1930 and spent every summer here until his death in 1967. Mr. Kline says the home would be to the right of the Hopper Landscape.
Joan Holt, a Truro resident, opposes construction of the house. "It's a place that has great historical and artistic significance," Ms. Holt said. "Our roots here on the lower cape are with two kinds of people, fishing people and artistic people."
More than 300 residents signed a petition asking the Board of Selectmen to refer the project for further review by the Cape Cod Commission, a regional land use agency.
In September, the board voted, 4 to 1, to ask the commission to consider whether the house would have a regional impact because of historical and environmental concerns. The commission takes up the case on Oct. 4.