The studio estate of the late Edward Hopper, celebrated painter of the American scene, has been received by the Whitney Museum of American Art. It comprises some 1,500 oils, water-colors, drawings and etchings.
The gift, received after lengthy legal process following the death of his widow, Josephine, in 1968 and worth more than $1 million, is described by the Whitney as "the most important bequest of an American artist's work to a museum." Museum officials said yesterday that it recalled in its significance the large donation of Thomas Eakins's paintings to the Philadelphia Museum by his widow and a friend around 1930.
The material ranges in time from the artist's student days to his death in 1967 at the age of 84, and runs a gamut from major works to sketches of relatively minor importance .
Although the taciturn artist never mentioned to Mr. Goodrich, a close friend [and former director of the Whitney], that he would leave his work to the Whitney, museum officials were not exactly surprised by the bequest. "Our long connection with him goes back to the days when he used to sketch at the Whitney Studio Club before 1920," said Mr. Goodrich, who is preparing a critical study of Hopper's work for fall publication.
Mr. Goodrich also wrote the first monograph on the artist's work, and arranged two retrospective Hopper exhibitions at the Whitney in 1950 and 1964. A personal bequest to him, from Mrs. Hopper, a painter herself who often served as a model for her husband, is a group of four ledgers, in which the couple kept careful records of the paintings Hopper sold or exhibited.
On each ledger page, Mr. Hopper would sketch the painting, noting underneath it the dates he worked on it and the materials used. Mrs. Hopper would then add a description of the painting's contents and its colors, its sale price, less dealer's commission, and the manner of sale.
Grace Glueck, "Art is Left by Hopper to the Whitney," New York Times (17 March 1971), n.p.