10 curiosities about Edward Hopper

Edward Hopper is known worldwide for his realistic paintings, although based on a very particular vision of contemporary loneliness.
Discover 10 interesting facts about the American painter and watercolourist.

10. First paintings

Edward Hopper’s first paintings were architectures and typically American urban landscapes, buildings, streets, almost empty squares, gas stations on isolated roads, recreated in very dark palettes. Despite having tried to use lighter shades, typical of the Impressionists, Hopper’s eventually returned to the loaded semblances where he felt comfortable.

9. Inspiration for his creations

Hopper spent most of the (short) time he was out of his studio, located in Washington Square, New York, observing and drawing scenes of cafes and streets, as well as watching opera and theater.

8. He married an artist

In 1923, Edward Hopper married a former colleague of the NY Academy, Josephine Nivision. Serving as muse to the American artist, Jo was a model of practically all the female figures of his works. A woman drinking a cup of coffee alone (Automat, 1927), a woman sitting in bed staring out the window (Morning Sun 1952), a woman sitting on the train reading a book (Chair Car, 1965), Jo Hopper was all these women, and none of them.

Josephine Verstille ("Jo" Hopper)

Josephine Verstille (“Jo” Hopper)

7. He spent years trying to get an exhibition

Only by the age of 37, and with the help of Josephine – already recognized in the art world at the time – Edward Hopper received the first invitation to exhibit six of his watercolors at the Brooklyn Museum (1923). One of the watercolors was acquired by the Museum for its permanent collection, turning it into the second painting that the artist sold in 10 years. Nevertheless, Hopper’s work quickly became noticed, having reached recognition by the age of 41.

6. The influence in his paiting

When Josephine and Edward Hopper married, they began producing a curious influence on the artistic production of each other: Having changed from a palette of very dark tones to brighter shades, typically used by his wife, Edward Hopper finally started to see his work valued and earning success. On the other hand, Josephine, who started to get closer to Hopper’s style, has lost all her recognition. Although they have not had descendants, Josephine usually referred to her husband’s paintings as their “children.”


5. First artist at the Museum of Modern Art

The work ‘House by the Railroad‘, a painting created in 1925, was the first work acquired by the newly open to the public, Museum of Modern Art.


‘House by the Railroad’, Edward Hopper

4. Was an inspiration for Hitchcock

‘House by the Railroad’ represented an isolated house in front of a railroad. Being a cinephile, the artist transposed to his landscapes the mystery and suspense of the big screen. But the opposite also happened: In 1960, this work inspired Alfred Hitchcock to create the Bates Hotel thriller “Psycho”.

3. Was a model to his paintings

In one of the most renowned works of the American painter, Nighthawks, Edward and his wife served as models. The two male figures sitting in the restaurant are based on Hopper and the redheaded female figure is inspired in Josephine. In a letter sent to his sister, Josephine wrote “Ed finished now a very good painting – a restaurant at night, with three figures. Night Hawks would be a great name for it. E. posed for the two men in a mirror and I to the girl. He was about a month and a half working on this painting.”

2. Nighthawks is a big work

The idea that the ‘Nighthawks’ is a small piece is absolutely wrong. In fact, the paint has 1,52cm x 84 cm.

1. All his artworks were given to Whitney Museum

When Josephine died, in 1968, she gave all Edward Hopper’s artworks to the Whitney Museum – more than 3,000 works. Until recently, it was thought that all Jo’s works have been destroyed but more than 200 of her creations were found at the Museum’s file.


Nighthawks’ , Edward Hopper