40 NYC Mecca


New York not only is home to most Hopper scenes or subjects, but also holds more Hopper paintings than any other. Here in one room in the Whitney Museum, I viewed more Hoppers than I would see in any other single site. Hopper and Jo had no children. When she died the year after Edward, she bequeathed everything to New York's Whitney Museum. It took the museum more than a year to catalog and photograph all the works. Jo's bequest included cartoons Hopper drew as a kid, his love letters to Jo, and lesser works he'd buried in his studio. The Whitney is now the largest repository of works by or about Hopper.

The Whitney grew out of the Whitney Studio Club, begun in 1918 by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, who championed Hopper. Jo jealously felt Gertrude had other designs on Edward, too. He became one of the earliest members, and in 1920, the club gave him one of his first one-man exhibitions. Reviews were underwhelming. But the Whitney made his Early Sunday Morning one of their first purchases. They also sponsored a nighttime studio that the poor bachelor Hopper could attend for free to sketch nude models. (The woman in charge of the classes said Hopper never missed one.) Hopper remained devoted to Gertrude and her museum throughout his life. He said, "I guess they considered me a safe man to deal with."

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