Gail Levin is Distinguished Professor of Art History, American Studies, and Women’s Studies at Baruch College and The Graduate Center of the City University of New York. She is author of many books including biographies of the artists Edward Hopper and Judy Chicago. She is now completing a biography of Lee Krasner.
Neoteric Art: What’s the most interesting fact you learned about Edward Hopper while doing research for the book?
Gail Levin: Since I had already written a catalogue raisonné, Hopper’s Places, and a number of other books on Hopper before beginning Edward Hopper: An Intimate Biography, I was surprised to learn how much Edward’s wife, the artist Josephine Nivison Hopper, participated in the creative process that led to his paintings. The two read poetry and prose aloud to one another, attended the theater and the movies, and toured the country by automobile as Edward searched for a subject he felt worthy of painting. Jo sometimes ended up starting a painting when he was blocked and that could get him going. She also shopped for props and posed for him, either dressing up or undressing, depending on the character he fantasized. They often named the characters he depicted in his canvases.