cover image Hopper Drawing

Hopper Drawing

Edited by Carter E. Foster. Yale Univ., $60 (256p) ISBN 978-0-300-18149-4

Directing attention to the drawings and sketches of Edward Hopper, an artist known for his indispensable impact on oil painting, this catalogue is flush with keen and surprising insight. Little critical attention has been given to the artist's drawings, in part because he often discredited them himself. Reproduced here in generous number and with liberal detail, the work is contextualized as a fundamental aspect of his process and his overarching vision. Fans of Hopper will be familiar with his subtle, otherworldly manipulation of light and shadow and his seemingly innate ability to transform the commonplace into moments of poetic awe. By tracking the many sketches and revisions of some of his most iconic works (Nighthawks, Office at Night, and Early Sunday Morning get particular attention), the essays in this catalogue make evident the intimate links between method, imagination, and craft that allowed this singular style to emerge. The breadth and depth of these studies equal the expansive selection of sketchings, and while the exacting detail of the analysis goes further than many readers might expect, the recurrent moments of acuity alleviate any sense of academic tedium. In text and image that are truly useful, the catalogue manages to make new one of the most familiar artists of the past century. Color illustrations. (June)