In the frank and quietly brooding face of Edward Hopper (above) lie many of the qualities of Hopper's paintings of America. Straightforward, imbued with unsentimental loneliness, Hopper's scenes of cities and the shore have established him as a major American artist of the century. This winter the Whitney Museum in New York held a retrospective exhibit of his life's work. Last week the show began a tour by reopening at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.
Hopper, who was born in Nyack, N.Y., came to New York City in 1899, when he was 17, to study art. There, with other young painters like George Bellows and Guy Pène du Bois, he was exposed to the bold realism of Robert Henri, the leader of the Ashcan School. Henri helped to mold Hopper, who, unaffected by the modern movement, continued a realist. For a long time Hopper's work, which was described as offensively hard, pleased almost no one. After 17 years he had sold only two pictures and this so discouraged him that for a while he buried himself in commercial art. In  a large one-man show finally won him recognition.
Today Hopper's canvases, which bring from $1,500 to $5,000 apiece, hang in 55 American museums and private collections. But Hopper himself is unchanged. A man of simple and secluded habits, he spends his summers in a cottage at Cape Cod, lives in New York in the same neat and plainly furnished apartment he occupied  years ago. Now 67, he works slowly, painting no more than three pictures a year as he doggedly pursues the distinctive and compelling beauty of his realism.
"Edward Hopper: Famous American Realist Has Retrospective Show," Life (17 April 1950), n.p.