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Whitney Museum Planning First Ever Major Survey of Edward Hopper Drawings

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In light of Paris’s recent blockbuster brush with the American master of sun-filled surrealism and uncanny calm, the Whitney Museum’s plans to mount the first major survey of Edward Hopper’s drawings this summer is a surefire recipe for success. The show, “Hopper Drawing,” is scheduled to run from May 23 to October 6, and will feature over 200 drawings including preparatory sketches for some of his best-known works including “Nighthawks,” “New York Movie,” and “Office at Night.”

The show will take up the museum’s third floor for the busy summer months, before traveling to the Dallas Museum of Art, where it will be on view November 17-February 6, 2014, and from there to Minneapolis’s Walker Art Center, where it will run March 15-June 22, 2014. It will rely heavily on the Whitney’s permanent collection holdings of Hopper drawings — numbering some 2,500 pieces acquired from the artist’s widow, Josephine Hopper — which will be complemented by key loans, the lot curated by the Whitney’s drawings curator Carter E. Foster.

“By comparing related studies to paintings, we can see the evolution of specific ideas as the artist combined, through drawing, his observations of the world with his imagination,” Foster said in a statement. “In other instances, his drawings provide a crucial form of continuity among thematically related paintings, a kind of connective tissue that allowed Hopper to revisit and re-examine ideas over time.”

The exhibition will also be accompanied by a 250-page catalogue featuring original pieces of writing by Foster, Daniel S. Palmer, Nicholas Robbins, Kimia Shahi, and Mark W. Turner. Hopper’s paintings figure prominently in the Whitney’s ongoing permanent collection show “American Legends: From Calder to O’Keeffe.” The museum’s most recent exhibition devoted solely to his work was 2010-11’s “Modern Life: Edward Hopper and His Time.”

— Benjamin Sutton

(Image: Edward Hopper, “Study for Nighthawks,” 1941 or 1942. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase and gift of Josephine N. Hopper by exchange 2011.65. © Heirs of Josephine N. Hopper, licensed by the Whitney Museum of American Art.)

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