nonfiction nuggets…the story of an American painter

edward hopper painter of light and shadow cover imageEdward Hopper: Painter of Light and Shadow, by Susan Goldman Rubin

Edward Hopper, who lived from 1882-1967, was a remarkable American painter who steadfastly worked at his craft throughout his life.

As a young boy he loved to draw. Through his school days he worked at improving his artwork with unusual resolution. He went on to study illustration and life drawing, pursuing his art in Paris and New York, searching for his own style and voice in his paintings.

Hopper had to work hard to earn a living through art and to be recognized not only for his illustrations, but for his paintings, which were not initially well-received. Eventually, though, people began to take notice.  Today, Hopper’s paintings hang in fine museums across the country and around the world. Hopper was a serious, hard-working artist, and many of his paintings express a probing look at scenes, people, buildings, fragments of life which most of us would hardly give a second glance.Gas by Edward Hopper

Susan Goldman Rubin has written a fascinating biography of Hopper, suitable for upper-elementary and older. Beginning with a pleasantly-full portrait of his early days and efforts, Rubin follows Hopper through his development as an artist, his happy marriage to Josephine, and his most productive painting years, before winding down with several of his most famous paintings from the 1940s.

The strength of this book lies in the substantial, insightful background Rubin provides for us on Hopper himself, and for many of his paintings, greatly enriching our understanding of his art. Quoting frequently from letters, diaries, and interviews, she allows us to hear Hopper’s and his wife’s own words describing their life and work.  Reading the book feels like having the lighthouse at two lights by edward hoppera private conversation with them, and you will definitely be better equipped to view and appreciate Hopper’s work afterwards.

I also loved the final Hopper quote, which seems to sum up his life as an artist so completely.  It’s his advice to a young artist just starting out.  You’ll have to read to find out what that is.

Prolifically illustrated with Hopper’s art as well as that of several contemporaries, the book is really beautiful. Extras include an Author’s Note, short sketches on the achievements of some of Hopper’s closest friends from art school, books for further reading, museums where Hopper’s work hangs, and extensive picture and source notes.

Excellent book for becoming acquainted with one of America’s fine, realistic painters.

Here’s an Amazon link:  Edward Hopper: Painter of Light and Shadow