This year at Baruch’s Art-A-Thon, I had the pleasure of listening in on a lecture about Edward and Josephine (Jo) Hopper, two American painters. Professor Gail Levin, distinguished art historian and author of many books on Edward Hopper, delivered the lecture with a slideshow of some art pieces by both painters and photographs of the couple.
Professor Levin offered great insight into the life of Jo and Edward Hopper as two lovers and two artists. Jo recorded her personal thoughts in diaries, while Edward would draw silly caricatures of their relationship. One example of this is his rendition of his growing jealousy towards Jo’s cat. This drawing is below depicting Jo and her cat happy at the table, while a sickly Edward is kneeling on the floor.
Edward and Jo were opposites, physically and emotionally. He stood at six foot five, while she was barely five feet. Edward was quiet and reserved, as reflected in his early self-portraits, while Jo was outspoken enough for the two of them. They often traveled in Edward’s Buick, his mobile studio, and painted many of the same scenes that offered an interesting look into both of their viewpoints.
Edward Hopper is recognized as one of the greatest realists from America. Jo never received the same success, being a woman in the early 1900s and then having most of her own work thrown out after her death. Nonetheless, her husband ensured that his last painting, seen below, would depict them both together bowing from the spotlight.