Edward Hopper - Violence and Love
"...Edward Hopper and his headstrong wife, Jo both studied at the New York School of Art, and before their marriage in 1924, it was she who was the more famous. Soon, however, his eerie scenes of isolated people and buildings were a huge success – visions of motels, gas stations and late-night cafeterias that seemed to epitomise modern-day America – and she duly subordinated her career to his.
For the rest of his life, Jo oversaw their collaboration on a set of ledger books containing small sketches (by him) of each canvas he painted and comments (by her) about the work itself, accompanied by details of its purchase and purchaser. In many ways, these ledgers – select pages of which are reproduced for the first time alongside the paintings themselves, in a new book – were meant simply as inventories. Yet, they’re also much more: offering insight into many of Edward’s mysterious scenes, as well as a window onto the Hoppers’ fraught but enduring marriage.
Before death took them both in the late Sixties, the couple spent many decades cooped up in a flat overlooking New York’s Washington Square. Marital tensions were revealed in Jo’s diaries, with tales of two-way domestic violence, yet the ledgers in the main reveal warmth: her cataloguing his entire oeuvre with brio and care".
PS: Jo reveals that in the image above - always thought to be of a sad, abandoned woman reading a love letter - she is actually reading a train timetable.