Edward Hopper (1882–1967), Self-Portrait and Hand Studies, c. 1900. Pen and ink and graphite pencil on paper, 7 7/8 × 4 15/16 in. (20 × 12.5 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Josephine N. Hopper Bequest 70.1559.28
CARTERFOSTER: I love the two hand studies, which Hopper did during his student years, because they indicate an awareness of his profession as an artist.
He’s representing the physical side of his job as an artist by showing his hands in this very expressive way. When you compare this sort of penetrating, youthful self-awareness of his bust-length portrait with his hands, you get this complete picture of an artist who is both imaginative and has an aspect of physical, manual labor to his work.
Apparently from a very young age, he wanted to become an artist.
NARRATOR: Hopper made this drawing—and others in this gallery—as a young student at the New York School of Art. There he received a classical training, studying the figure closely and following a traditional curriculum. He was a very successful student, studying primarily with the Ashcan School leader Robert Henri.