Born on 22 July, 1882, Edward Hopper was a renowned painter of the realist genre. His prime reason for recognition was his impeccable skill in oil paintings. Nonetheless, he was also known for his unique style as a watercolorist.
Hopper spent most of his childhood n Upper Nyack, York. His family was largely middle class and he had just one sibling. His parents were Dutch by nationality and merchants of dry goods. They raised Edward in a stringent Baptist tradition. Though not wealthy, they managed to provide for their kids. A clear evidence of this was the public and private schooling of both Hopper and his only sister Marion.
Hopper fared well in his academics and demonstrated the spark of a creative mind from a very early age. His father was a thorough intellectual with immense proficiency in the French language. These characteristics along with an artistic heritage is what Hopper absorbed from his father who also supplied him with every encouragement and material Hopper needed to facilitate his artistic journey.
Consequently, by his teens, Hopper was working in the realms of a variety of art forms including watercolor and oil. It was in the year of 1895 when he created his first signed painting. He named it Rowboat in Rocky Cove. On the side he also produced a number of self portraits which depicted him as a clumsy and odd looking bloke.
In his high school years, he temporarily began desirous of becoming an architect. It happened only after his graduation that he became sure of adopting art as his lifelong occupation. Hence, he formally began studying art in 1899. He studied for six years in New York School of Art and Design, immersing himself deeper in the skill of oil painting. Raised in a family of conservative values, he initially found the task of drawing from live models extremely uncomfortable.
In 1905, Hopper began a job in an advertising agency where he designed covers for trade magazines but he grew unhappy with the rules and regulations he had to abide by there. He would occasionally retreat to Europe to get away and free his mind again. He spent some more years painting urban scenes inclusive of cafe and street drawings. He found early on that realist art was the domain he was attracted to. Yet for months he faced trouble finding an inspiration for his work, to find which he traveled Gloucester, Massachusetts.
In 1923, he met Josephine Nivison who was also an artist by profession. They were seen by many as exact opposites of each other. A year later, they got married. His wife always prioritized his husband’s career over her own. She would organize his interviews and provide him with every assistance he needed. She even modeled for many of his portraits. In fact, it was with her help, that Hopper’s work went on to win the laurels that it did.
By forty one Hopper’s work had amassed a significant level of recognition among the masses. He was financially secure. Though, he was still the recluse he had always been and turned down all requests of being interviewed. In the great depression, Hopper’s work sold more than any many of his contemporaries. And in 1931 his popularity gained new heights when his work began to be exhibited in numerous museums across the country.
On May 15, 1967, Edward Hopper died in his apartment in New York. His wife died just ten months later and bequeathed her and Hopper’s work to Whitney Museum of American Art.