Josephine Nivison Hopper, the wife of famed American master Edward Hopper, was an artist as well. Before she met Hopper, she was a student of Robert Henri, a leading figure in American art in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Henri’s memorable portrait of her captures the directness and vitality of the twenty two year old Jo.
She was standing in her old paint-spattered apron at the close of a lesson, with her paint brushes clutched firmly in her little fist, listening to a conversation. She seemed a little human question mark, and everything about her, every line of her dress, suggested the idea. I wanted to paint her just as she was, and I asked her to pose for me the next day.
I was afraid she couldn’t assume the same pose and the same look, but it happened that as she entered my studio she fell into the same energetic, questioning attitude. I had to paint very rapidly to get it. Robert Henri*
Quote of Robert Henri about Josephine Hopper (1883-1968) is from Edward Hopper: An Intimate Biography by Gail Levin, University of California Press, Berkeley, CA, 1995.
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