For Edward Hopper, New York was a city that existed in the mind as well as on the map, a place that took shape through lived experience, memory, and the collective imagination. It was, he reflected late in life, “the American city that I know best and like most.”
The city of New York was Hopper’s home for nearly six decades (1908–67), a period that spans his entire mature career. Hopper’s New York was not an exacting portrait of the twentieth-century metropolis. During his lifetime, the city underwent tremendous development—skyscrapers reached record-breaking heights, construction sites roared across the five boroughs, and an increasingly diverse population boomed—yet his depictions of New York remained human-scale and largely unpopulated. Eschewing the city’s iconic skyline and picturesque landmarks, such as the Brooklyn Bridge and the Empire State Building, Hopper instead turned his attention to its unsung utilitarian structures and out-of-the-way corners, drawn to the awkward collisions of new and old, civic and residential, public and private that captured the paradoxes of the changing city. Edward Hopper’s New York charts the artist’s enduring fascination with the city, revealing a vision of New York that is as much a manifestation of Hopper himself as it is a record of the city around him.
Edward Hopper’s New York takes a comprehensive look at Hopper’s life and work, from his early impressions of New York in sketches, prints, and illustrations, to his late paintings, in which the city served as a backdrop for his evocative distillations of urban experience. Drawing from the Whitney’s extensive holdings and amplified by key loans, the exhibition brings together many of Hopper’s iconic city pictures as well as several lesser-known yet critically important examples. The presentation is significantly informed by a variety of materials from the Museum’s recently acquired Sanborn Hopper Archive—printed ephemera, correspondence, photographs, and journals that together inspire new insights into Hopper’s life in the city. By exploring the artist’s work through the lens of New York, the exhibition offers a fresh take on this formidable figure and considers the city itself as a lead actor.
This exhibition is organized by Kim Conaty, Steven and Ann Ames Curator of Drawings and Prints, with Melinda Lang, Senior Curatorial Assistant.
Edward Hopper's New York is sponsored by
This exhibition is also sponsored by
Generous support is provided by Judy Hart Angelo, Kenneth C. Griffin, and the Terra Foundation for American Art.
Major support is provided by the Barbara Haskell American Fellows Legacy Fund; David Bolger; The Brown Foundation, Inc., of Houston; the David Geffen Foundation; and Laurie M. Tisch.
Significant support is provided by Elizabeth Marsteller Gordon.
Additional support is provided by Ann Ames, Jane Carroll, Elissa and Edgar Cullman, the Daniel W. Dietrich II Foundation, and Arlene and Robert Kogod.
This exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.
New York magazine is the exclusive media sponsor.