Edward Hopper: The Art and the Artist

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In the art of Edward Hopper 1882-1967, tense, unhappy men and women, in whom we recognize something of our neighbors and ourselves, play out mysterious dramas in silent, stripped-down spaces - stages raked by an unrelenting and revealing light. These paintings, and Hopper's equally evocative landscapes and houses, make us wonder: what kind of man had this haunting vision, and what kind of life engendered this art? No one is better qualified to answer these questions than the art historian Gail Levin, author of ...
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Hopper, Edward New York, NY 1981 Hard cover New. New book in great condition, no markings of any kind, cover edges are shelf worn Sewn binding. Cloth over boards. 299 p. ... Audience: General/trade. Read more Show Less

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Overview

In the art of Edward Hopper 1882-1967, tense, unhappy men and women, in whom we recognize something of our neighbors and ourselves, play out mysterious dramas in silent, stripped-down spaces - stages raked by an unrelenting and revealing light. These paintings, and Hopper's equally evocative landscapes and houses, make us wonder: what kind of man had this haunting vision, and what kind of life engendered this art? No one is better qualified to answer these questions than the art historian Gail Levin, author of the major studies of Hopper's work including the catalogue raisonne and curator of many exhibitions that explored his development and cultural context. Delving deeply into his art and into a rich archive of unpublished letters and diaries, she now constructs "An Intimate Biography," which reveals the true nature and personality of the man himself - and of the woman who shared his life and helped to shape his art. Jo Hopper's diaries permit an intimate look at the interactions of an indissolubly bonded couple, revealing for the first time the personal tensions that lie behind some of Hopper's most haunting works. Gail Levin, sifting the gritty reality of Jo's story with her own analytic skills and historical and literary knowledge, uses the diaries to great effect in linking specific paintings to the time, place, and mood in which they were created.

Our mental picture of Hopper is based on his images of alienated men and women and of stark landscapes. Now, Hopper scholar and curator Gail Levin shows the reader both the truth and the inaccuracy of those notions, and reveals the man himself. Included also is the story of Jo Hopper, a woman who sacrificed her identity as an artist to be his wife, model, and partner. Photos.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This remarkable biography throws Hopper's art and life into sharp new perspective. Its focus is the laconic, introverted painter's stormy 43-year marriage to outspoken, gregarious Josephine (``Jo'') Nivison, herself an artist. Levin, art professor at Baruch College and the City University of New York graduate school, draws extensively on Jo Hopper's intimate diaries, which she kept from the early 1930s until shortly before her death in 1968 (just 10 months after her husband died). Through diary entries, we learn that Hopper ridiculed, degraded and occasionally beat or bruised his wife, that he refused to let her drive their car, that he thwarted her career even as she devotedly helped him find subjects to paint. Nevertheless, as his model, intellectual peer and fellow artist, she stimulated his creativity, and, according to Levin, they became partners and conspirators in a domestic drama of deep attraction and violent opposition that fed his disquieting vision of modern life. Illustrated throughout with photographs as well as scores of reproductions of both Hoppers' paintings and drawings. (Sept.)
Library Journal
Hopper's cool portrayals of American life transcend photographic realism and, like the oft-reproduced and -parodied "Nighthawks," have become icons of despair and a remote hope. This thorough work is by necessity a dual biography of Hopper and Josephine Nivison Hopper, the artist's wife of nearly 50 years. By relying on the diaries and letters of Jo, Levin has depicted the antagonistic symbiosis of the couple's marriage. Jo Hopper was an untiringthough not uncomplainingadvocate of her husband's art and the female model for the characters in most of his great works. Hopper is depicted as a misogynist who takes every opportunity to thwart his wife's already frustratedthough not wholly unsuccessfulpainting career. Living up to the "intimate" of the subtitle, Levin's biography has taken advantage of her sources to create a detailed and monumental ledger of the genesis and creation of Hopper's modern masterpieces. Levin, the author of numerous works on Hopper including the recent Edward Hopper: A Catalogue Raisonn, Norton, 1995, has carefully balanced the artistic and personal lives of the Hoppers. Recommended for all art and biography collections.Martin R. Kalfatovic, Smithsonian Inst. Libs., Washington, D.C.
Donna Seaman
opper's reticence was legendary, so Levin, a Hopper scholar, turned to the diaries of Hopper's far more loquacious wife, Jo, for insights into their very private life and discovered that Jo was essential to the creation of Edward's art. Levin's biography is, therefore, a double portrait. Edward and Jo were collaborators, soul mates, and adversaries for 45 productive if anguished years. Edward was an artist practically from birth, and Jo, an unusually independent young woman for her time, was also a painter, but once she married Edward, she sacrificed her art for his. Edward was as ruthlessly selfish as he was talented, as coldly competitive as he was brilliant. Jo posed for every female figure Edward painted, chronicled the making of every major work, and cajoled Edward out of his frequent slumps. Levin analyzes Edward's repressed and repressive personality and contentious marriage, then illuminates the sources of his powerful and provocative paintings and discusses his belief that art, in his words, "is one's effort to communicate to others one's emotional reaction to life and the world." That he did, with resounding success.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393013740
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/17/1981
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 1
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 11.40 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Gail Levin is the author of numerous other books, including the classic Edward Hopper: The Art and the Artist (Norton) and Edward Hopper: An Intimate Biography. She lives in New York City.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Truth and Pain
The Roots of Conflict: 1882-1899 3
Defining the Talent: 1899-1906 27
Seductive Paris: 1906-1907 49
The Ambivalent American: 1907-1910 72
In Search of a Style: 1911-1915 84
The Detour through Etching: 1915-1918 102
The Deeper Hunger: 1918-1923 123
The Leading Lady 146
First Success: 1923-1924 167
Getting Established: 1925-1927 188
On the Road to America: 1928-1929 212
Recognition: 1930-1933 227
First Retrospective and the Truro House: 1933-1935 251
An Intellectual Self-Portrait 272
Consequences of Success: 1936-1938 283
The Struggle to Paint: 1939 307
The War Begins: 1940 320
Failed Odyssey: 1941 333
Nighthawks: 1942 348
Mexico: 1943 358
War on the Home Front: 1944 367
The Aesthetic Divide: 1945 375
Anxiety: 1946-1947 385
Illness and Loss: 1948 400
Melancholy Reflection: 1949 408
A Retrospective Year: 1950 421
Mexico Again: 1951 436
Planning Reality: 1952 445
Reality: 1953 455
Taking Stock: 1954 474
Personal Vision: 1955 482
Time Cover Story: 1956 494
Toward Reconciliation: 1957-1958 508
Excursion into Philosophy: 1959 520
Protest: 1960 529
Prints Again: 1961-1962 543
Last Rehearsal: 1963-1964 554
Final Curtain: 1965-1967 569
Bibliographical Notes 581
Notes 583
Acknowledgments 645
Index 647
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