Edward Hopper Biography

Edward Hopper – Born on July 22, 1882 in the small village of Nyack located just outside Manhattan on the western shore of the Hudson River in the state of New York. Born to well-off middle class parents of English, Welsh and predominantly Dutch heritage, he had one sibling a sister Marion.

Edward and Marion attended both public and private schools where Edward was known to be a good student. With his artistic talents showing in his drawings by the age of five his parents always encouraged this side of him, shown by how they provided the budding artist the newest art supplies available and by 10 years old Hopper was signing and dating his sketches of mostly nature.

Upon graduation from high school he declared his intentions of becoming an artist and enrolled in the Correspondence School of Illustrating in New York City. Again his parents helped influence his art by encouraging him into the career of commercial illustrator, to pay the bills.

After one year of correspondence, Edward stepped up his training and entered the New York School of Art, formerly the Chase School as it was founded by the American artist William Merritt Chase (1849-1916). There he studied under the famous artists Robert Henri and Chase from 1900 to 1906.

For 20 years Edward made his living as a professional illustrator all but abandoning his dream of becoming a painter, although he did sell a few paintings. During that time he made three trips to Europe, where studying art history influenced him to paint Soir Bleu in 1914. The painting of a Paris carnival failed to attract any attention when he showed it in a mixed exhibition and it was this failure that pushed him back to working on American subjects.

In 1924 he married Josephine Nivison whom he had known when they were fellow students under Henri. The couple settled in Greenwich Village, calling it home for the rest of their lives. Jo then became the only model Edward would use for all of the women in his paintings.

Edward Hoppers biography reads fairly uneventful until he found his fame later in life with his famous works including Model Reading (1925), Early Sunday Morning (1930) Room in Brooklyn (1932), and one of the most recognizable paintings in American art, Nighthawks (1942).

The iconic Nighthawks painting portrays people sitting in a downtown diner late at night. So widely recognized is this painting it has been copied in parody by Helnwein’s poster Boulevard of Broken Dreams, by the comics Peanuts and The Simpsons. The people in the painting have been transformed into ducks, Santa and his Reindeer and even Red and Kitty from That 70’s Show.

In 2000 his birthplace and boyhood home was listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is today the Edward Hopper House Art Center serving as a non-profit community cultural center featuring workshops, exhibitions, performances and lectures.

Hopper painted dozens of nudes, still life, landscape, and portraits, including his own self-portrait. Describing his own work he was quoted as saying “I don’t think I ever tried to paint the American scene; I’m trying to paint myself.” Edward Hopper (1882-1967)