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Edward Hopper’s artist’s ledgers I reblogged a...

Oct 31, 2012

Edward Hopper’s artist’s ledgers

I reblogged a photoset of images incorrectly labeled as “Edward Hopper’s sketchbook,” but the images actually weren’t sketchbook images at all, but a meticulous business record of paintings that Hopper produced and sent out for sale.

You see, Hopper’s wife recorded each painting he made in little books she got from the five and dime store. She asked him to do a drawing of the painting (which he did beautifully) and then she wrote the details of the painting below it, including the circumstances of the paintings — where they were when he made it, who were the models, etc. (Above, you can see the record for “A Woman In The Sun,” with the final painting below.)

The ledgers aren’t a document of discovery, but a record of production — in a way, the ledgers are a kind of visual logbook of the kind I describe in Steal.

This is another example of why posting images without context and attribution strips them of their meaning — if you see these images in a photoset labeled “Edward Hopper’s sketchbook,” you might think, “Wow, look how perfect his sketches were before he painted,” and you would completely miss the real story, which is way more interesting. (Always, always, always dig deeper when you see images w/o attribution!)

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