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Edward Hopper

Birthdate: (84)
Birthplace: Nyack, New York
Death: May 15, 1967 (84)
New York, New York
Immediate Family:

Son of Garret Henry Hopper and Elizabeth Griffiths Smith
Husband of Josephine Verstille Nivison
Brother of Marion Louise Hopper

Occupation: prominent American realist painter and printmaker
Managed by: Gary Michael Kirk
Last Updated:

About Edward Hopper

Wikipedia Biographical Summary:

"...Edward Hopper (July 22, 1882 – May 15, 1967) was a prominent American realist painter and printmaker. While most popularly known for his oil paintings, he was equally proficient as a watercolorist and printmaker in etching. In both his urban and rural scenes, his spare and finely calculated renderings reflected his personal vision of modern American life..."

"...Hopper was born in upper Nyack, New York, a yacht-building center on the Hudson River north of New York City. He was one of two children of a comfortably well-off, middle-class family. His parents, of mostly Dutch ancestry, were Garret Henry Hopper, a dry-goods merchant, and his wife Elizabeth Griffiths Smith..."

"...In 1913, at the famous Armory Show, Hopper sold his first painting, Sailing (1911), which he painted over an earlier self-portrait.[26] Hopper was thirty-one, and though he hoped his first sale would lead to others in short order, his career would not catch fire for many more years to come.Shortly after his father’s death that same year, Hopper moved to the Greenwich Village section of New York City, where he lived for the rest of his life..."

"...By 1923, Hopper’s slow climb finally produced a breakthrough. He re-encountered his future wife Josephine Nivison, an artist and former student of Robert Henri, during a summer painting trip in Gloucester, Massachusetts. They were opposites: she was short, open, gregarious, sociable, and liberal, while he was tall, secretive, shy, quiet, introspective, and conservative. They married a year later...."

"...Hopper was very productive through the 1930s and early 1940s, producing among many important works New York Movie (1939), Girlie Show (1941), Nighthawks (1942), Hotel Lobby (1943), and Morning in a City (1944)..."

"...Hopper died in his studio near Washington Square in New York City on May 15, 1967. His wife, who died 10 months later, bequeathed their joint collection of over three thousand works to the Whitney Museum of American Art.[44] Other significant paintings by Hopper are held by the Museum of Modern Art in New York, The Des Moines Art Center, and the Art Institute of Chicago..."

SOURCE: Wikipedia contributors, 'Edward Hopper', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 15 August 2011, 13:03 UTC, <> [accessed 21 August 2011]


CHAPTER VII in Provincetown Profiles, 1958 Edward Hopper YOU have to be a good Cape Cod driver if you want to get your automobile to the little white house of artist Edward Hopper in South Truro. The house is located on the bay side and the only approach other than salt water is a sandy cart path. It seems interminable as you drive along it. Actually, it's less than half-a-mile from the paved highway. You must keep your car wheels in the center of the grooves or there is a good chance you'll be stuck. Of course, if you have balloon tires you don't have to worry. As you consider this unprepossessing entrance you cannot help won­dering if the famously reticent painter with the hermit reputation did not so design it to discourage intrusions. However, he denies the allegation and stoutly maintains that it is not a difficult drive at all. Having been stuck in Cape Cod sand a few times, I must confess I was reluctant on my first visit in the summer of 1956 to attempt to navi­gate that cart path. On the telephone Mrs. Hopper had given me a. fright­ening description of it and, moreover, I was not even sure that I could find it. So: Hopper, an obliging gentleman, and his vivacious wife met me at the Truro Post Office and drove me to the house in their car. Hopper is a tall man, (six feet, four) with blue eyes and a kindly manner. He has a mild voice and he talks slowly. His wife, the former Josephine Nivison, is an animated personality and charmingly loquacious. She has an active mind, constantly brimming over with ideas and suggestions. She is petite and likes tall men. An artist herself, she understands her husband's thinking and his moods. Her paintings have been shown at the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Metropolitan in New York, the Corcoran in Washington and at other big museum shows. She signs them 'Jo Hopper.' Over the years she has posed for many of his figures. "I've posed for many of his pictures," she says, "because I was right there. I v/as easily available and any actual likeness was unnecessary. He is not interested in doing portraits." Edward Hopper is one of the great painters of our time. Provincetown's John Whorf, considered by many as the greatest marine water colorist in America, says Edward Hopper is "without qualification the best water color artist in the country". In addition to water colors Hopper is also doing some oils these days. Back in the early days of this century he had the good fortune to study with Robert Henri, first ranking professor of the "Ash Can School". Henri inspired him to paint the world as he saw it. At first his vision of the world was too dour to please art critics and collectors, and in the course of two decades he sold only two paintings. Time Magazine has said: "With the depression, Hopper's harsh, lonely and hard-bitten view of America became understandable to millions. Fhrough the man-made ugliness he most often chose to paint, a raw but very human grandeur began to be felt and his fame was made. "If Hopper's street scenes, hotel lobbies, lunch counters, gas stations ind movie houses never seem temples of the human spirit, they do look iety much like what they are: expressions of human striving in all its lisarray. The disarray, the occasional sordidness are only pointed up by the pristine order and clarity of his composition. Hopper's subject matter is ilmost invariably common, his art contrastingly austere. He presents com-non denominators in a monumental way." The first sentence of Edward Hopper's "Notes on Painting" says: "My iim in painting has always been the most exacting transcription of my nost intimate impressions of nature." Charles Murchfield, the water colorist, has said: "Few artists have ucceeded so signally in realizing their aims as Edward Hopper. He has arried on the tradition of Homer and Eakins. He is one of America's nost original and powerful creators." Hopper has been showered with honors and prizes. In 1957 he won the $2000 first prize in Hallmark Cards' fourth international art contest and the year before, a $1000 award from the Huntington Hartford Foundation. In June, 1955, he received one of the highest honors it is possible for a U. S. artist to get: The Gold Medal for Painting presented by the National Institute of Arts and Letters. I asked him what he said at the banquet at which that medal was presented to him. He smiled and replied, "I said, 'Thanks.' " Mrs. Hopper thinks her husband's work has been mostly influenced by Homer but he disagrees. He says that he has admired Eakins' paintings more than Homer's. "I sometimes go for weeks without working," he told me. "I think about a canvas a long time before touching it. I make numerous sketches and I have the picture well formed in my mind before I start painting." "When he is painting," Mrs. Hopper interpolated, "I am very careful not to make any noise. If I have to enter the studio, I do so on tiptoes. I think it is very necessary for painters to marry painters because people who are not artists simply do not understand ..." Hopper said he hasn't done a potboiler in 25 or 30 years. I asked him if he had ever done any teaching. "1 had one pupil years ago," he said with a lifted eyebrow, "and that was enough." Archaeology is one of his hobbies. He is interested in ancient Zapotec Indian ruins and has made five or six trips to Mexico to study them. He has put together a collection of arrowheads. "I love to play chess," he said, "although I am not a good player." "Does Mrs. Hopper care for the game?" I asked. "I wouldn't waste my time," she averred. "If I'm going to do anything, it'li be something creative." The Hoppers, whose principal home is at 3 Washington Square in New York City, arrive in South Truro each year early in July and remain until around the middle of November. They first started spending their summers on Cape Cod in 1930 and built their present residence in 1934. They had previously gone to Maine and the North Shore during the summers. Hopper's paintings hang in museums throughout the world. Many of them have been reproduced in countless books and magazines, not to mention newspapers. He gave his views on art succinctly in an article in "Reality", a journal of artists' opinions, in 1953. He wrote: "Great art is the outward expression of an inner life in the artist, and this inner life will result in his personal vision of the world. No amount of skillful invention can replace the essential element of imagina­tion. One of the weaknesses of much abstract painting is the attempt to substitute inventions of the intellect for a pristine imaginative conception. "The inner life of a human being is a vast and varied realm and does not concern itself alone with the stimulating arrangements of color, form and design. "The term 'life' as used in art is something not to be held in con­tempt, for it implies all of existence, and the province of art is to react to it and not to shun it. "Painting will have to deal more fully and less obliquely with life and nature's phenomena before it can again become great." Hopper was born in Nyack, N. Y., June 22, 1882, a son of Garrett Henry and Elizabeth (Griffiths) Hopper. After leaving the New York School of Art, where he studied under Henri and Kenneth Hayes-Miller, he took off in 1906 for Europe. On that occasion he spent nine months in Paris. The following year he spent six more months in Europe and in 1910, four months. He trav­eled in Spain, England, Holland and Belgium. "1 haven't been to Europe since that time," he said. "It took me ten years to get over Europe. The life over there is entirely different from the life here. In Europe life is ordered; here it is disordered. And, with the exception of Spain, the light there is different. Those countries don't have the clear skies and sunlight we have here." Mr. and Mrs. Hopper were married in L'Eglise Evangelique, New York City, in 1924. They have no children. Recently when Mrs. Hopper's birthday was approaching her famous husband wondered what to give her as a gift. He suggested one thing, then another and still another. To each suggestion he received a frown. "No," she demurred, waving a hand. "I don't want any of those things." He cogitated for a spel] and finally came up with: "Want me to pose for you/" She clasped her hands in delight. "Do I want you to pose for me?" she beamed. "Haven't I been beg­ging you to for years?" That "present" made a big hit and she turned out a most creditable portrait head. "You know, my wife is very expensive," Hopper explained. "Any­thing from Cartier's or Tiffany's she'd throw in my face. It has to be a lot more special, difficult and often mightily inconvenient . . . as that posing job. But I've lived through it." ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Edward Hopper was the J.D. Salinger of American painters, an extremely private man who granted few interviews. Much of what scholars know about his work comes from his wife Jo Nivison-Hopper's journals. Edward Hopper: The Paris Years, organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art of New York, provides a tantalizing look at the early work of one of America's best known figurative painters. The exhibition of 45 paintings and 10 works on paper opens at Charlotte, NC's Mint Museum of Art on February 22 and runs through June 1, 2003.

Hopper said little about even his most accomplished paintings, believing the work should speak for itself. Scholars have been left to speculate on influences on his career, from his realist art instructors Robert Henri, William Merritt Chase and Kenneth Hayes Miller at the New York School of Art to the psychological reaction of a young man raised in a small town coming to grips with isolation and loss of community in the urban modern age that was New York City at the turn of the century. The answer may be found in Paris, in verse rather than on canvas. Edward Hopper's early talent for drawing and painting was encouraged by his mother Elizabeth. The family's middle class concern for his future financial security influenced Edward to attend The New York School of Illustrating before transferring to the New York School of Art. Hopper would work more than fifteen years as a commercial illustrator, work that he despised. His skill at painting watercolors, however, is attributed to the years spent as an illustrator. He was able to master strokes with the brush and had a remarkable eye for being able to adjust a composition to where it would have the most immediate and dramatic impact on the viewer. After six years of study at the New York School of Art, Hopper left for France in October, 1906. His Paris studies coincided with an exciting era in the history of the Modern movement. Hopper, however, was untouched by Fauvist and Cubist art popular at the time, continuing instead to follow his own artistic course.

"I've heard of Gertrude Stein, but I don't remember having heard of Picasso at all," stated Hopper. "Paris had no great or immediate impact on me." Then again, Hopper later admits, "America seemed awfully crude and raw when I got back. It took me ten years to get over Europe." ... ----------------------------------------------------------- 27 Nov 2006 High hopes for Hopper

By ERIC WILLIAMS STAFF WRITER, Cape Cod Times Our man Hopper is doing pretty well these days, especially for a guy who departed these mortal coils in 1967.

One of his paintings, Hotel Window, is headed for the Sotheby's block Wednesday in New York City, where it could fetch more than $10 million, shattering his previous auction record.

That's Edward Hopper, of course, the fellow who spent summers in Truro from the 1930s to the 1960s, in a sweet bayside perch.

Hopper was one of those rare artists who garnered acclaim - and good prices - while he was alive.

He lived here in the summer for 30 years, said Al Kochka, a Dennis-based art appraiser and historian who has lectured on Hopper at the Cape Cod Museum of Art.

He was making money during the Depression; he was selling work when others couldn't. It was during that time when cubism and abstract expressionism and all that was coming in, and he said, 'I don't need that. I'm Hopper. I do Hopper.

Hopper used Cape locales as subjects for his work - landscapes featuring houses, dunes, cottages, the Pamet River.

The comings and goings of Hopper and his wife, Josephine, were followed by the Provincetown Advocate newspaper, which reported in 1959 that: Mr. and Mrs. Hopper paint together (yes, she's a painter, too) and they don't always agree on all subjects. For instance, he doesn't want her to drive his car, but she does anyway.

The current Hopper auction record has stood for 16 years, said Dara Mitchell, Sotheby's director of American paintings.

That record, $2.42 million, was the price paid for the Cape scene South Truro Church.

But they've sold in the $10 million to $15 million range privately, Mitchell said. ... [1]

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Edward Hopper's Timeline

July 22, 1882
Nyack, New York
- 1965
Age 19
May 15, 1967
Age 84
New York, New York