Edward Hopper, ‘Sheet of Studies’, ca. 1900, Thurston Royce Gallery of Fine Art, LTD.

Hopper has the ability to capture the essential elements of human pose and dress in a lively, shorthand manner. In this free and fluid sketch, which was executed from his imagination, he explores certain details of various anonymous figure groups. This sheet is suggestive of crowded city streets of New York where people are generalized and undifferentiated in a harsh, impersonal world. They represent clichés of humanity reduced to colliding near-abstract shapes, yet each is redolent of human form, evoking a conventional ambience of human activity. Hopper emphasizes gestures and poses rather than faces or expressions. The figures are engendered with a dynamic, which proclaims their personhood, if not their individuality. The ten figures, mostly well-dressed women in thru-of-century headdress, are docily oriented in different directions. His interest in recording urban life links Hopper to various members of "the Eight," such as Robert Henri, George Luks, and William Glackens. However, Hopper differs from them in choosing not to follow their lead in depicting the seamier side of city life.

Signature: Unsigned.

The artist, until 1967; to his widow, Jo Hopper, until 1968; to private collection, until the present.

About Edward Hopper

Edward Hopper defined 20th-century realism with his austere, eerie scenes that conveyed the alienation and isolation of modern life. Nighthawks (1942), a painting of three customers sitting at the counter of a diner late at night, is among his most famous works. The illusion of light pervades his paintings, which depict late 19th-century architecture, coastal views, and scenes of the city. Hopper’s characters, even when painted in groups, seem disconnected and lost in thought. "Great art is the outward expression of an inner life in the artist, and this inner life will result in his personal vision of the world," he said.

American, 1882-1967, Nyack, New York, based in Maine, Massachusetts and New York