In 1908 he settled in New York City and worked as an illustrator. Hopper painted in his spare time, but his work did not sell. In 1920, before he received any major recognition, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney gave Hopper his first one-artist exhibition at the Whitney Studio Club.
By 1924 Hopper had some success exhibiting and selling his watercolors, etchings, and paintings, and he was able to give up illustration work and become a full-time artist. That same year, he married Josephine Nivison, who was also a painter. They spent their summers in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, where he painted scenes inspired by the seashore, lighthouses, and small-town life he observed there.
“What I wanted to do was to paint sunlight on the side of a house.”
“When I don’t feel in the mood for painting I go to the movies for a week or more. I go on a regular movie binge!”
“So many people say painting is fun. I don’t find it fun at all. It’s hard work for me.”