(American, 1882–1967) was an extremely influential artist who was best known for his Realist oil paintings and watercolors of urban and rural scenes. Hopper was born in Nyack, NY, and began his formal education in art in 1899 through a series of correspondence courses. After his father urged him to obtain more formal education, he transferred to the New York Institute of Art and Design in 1900. There he studied under William Merritt Chase
(American, 1849–1916) and Robert Henri
(American, 1865–1929), both of whom influenced his subsequent career, working with oil and painting Realist scenes of everyday life. Upon completion of his education in 1905, Hopper landed a part-time job with an advertising agency designing covers for trade magazines. Hopper detested illustration work; however, due to the need to support himself financially, he continued in this capacity until 1923.
Hopper sold his first painting, Sailing
(1911), in 1913 at the age of 31. His hope that this would be the beginning of a full-time career as an independent artist did not materialize for several more years, throughout which he continued to do illustration work in several different industries. In 1923, he met his future wife and fellow painter Josephine Nivison (American, 1883–1968) in Gloucester, MA. Nivison retired from her own career as a painter to assist Hopper in promoting his career. This led to six of his watercolor paintings being included in an exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum. One of them, The Mansard Roof
(1923), was sold to the museum’s permanent collection. The following commercial exposure and the positive critical review resulted in the sale of all of his watercolors the next year. This allowed him to finally retire from illustration work and concentrate solely on painting.
Until his death in 1967, Hopper produced thousands of works, including his most famous painting, Nighthawks
(1942), which was a prime example of his Realist style of painting scenes based on everyday life. Other notable pieces by Hopper include Early Sunday Morning (1930), Girl at Sewing Machine
(1921), and Chop Suey
(1929). All have been hailed as prime examples of modern American Realist painting.