An Edward Hopper Scrapbook

Art in America Annual Award for an Outstanding Contribution to American Art


EDWARD HOPPER
An American Master Who Continues to Produce the Work of Power and Intensity That for a Half a Century Has Represented Both Here and Abroad a Great Tradition in American Art

Edward Hopper, a modest reticent man, has for decades been painting the American scene of the 20th century—bringing eloquence to silent desolation and a sunlit, poignant beauty to the commonplace. As long ago as 1908 he was saying the same things, but to deaf ears. His period of greatness began about 1920 when, after an interlude that included illustrating and commercial work, he began to express himself fully, first in etching, then watercolor, then oil. He is respected equally by the realists for his uncompromising interpretation of this country's strengths and weaknesses, and by abstractionists, who admire the powerful designs inherent in his paintings.

About his natural reticence, Mr. Hopper once remarked, in a Time article: "If you could say it in words, there'd be no reason to paint." And, about painting: "The more you put on canvas, the more you lose control of the thought. I've never been able to paint what I set out to paint…A nation's art is greatest when it most reflects the character of its people…What lives in a painting is the personality of the painter." As reported in an Art in America interview, he found amusing his own particular position astride two great currents of American art: "It may be that because my pictures have a basis of geometric design the advance guard accept me as one of them."

Edward Hopper was born in 1882 in Nyack, N.Y., and at the age of 18 enrolled in Robert Henri's art school in Manhattan. Early in his career he spent a year studying in Paris where the preoccupation with light which has since become almost a Hopper trademark first became apparent; he found the light in Paris different from any he had seen. For many years, he and Mrs. Hopper have spent their summers on Cape Cod, returning in the fall to their studio on Washington Square North, in lower Manhattan. He was the subject of a major retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1950, and his works are in many museums and private collections. Among his famous paintings are Approaching a City, Early Sunday Morning, Light House at Two Lights, Gas, Night Hawks.

Art in America takes great pleasure in giving its 1960 Award to Edward Hopper, painter. This award carries with it a medal designed by Seymour Lipton and a $1,000 prize. The previous Award winners have been Mark Tobey, painter, in 1958; Lloyd Goodrich, museum director, in 1959.

"Art in America Annual Award," Art in America 48 (Winter 1960), p.3.