Illustrations by Wendell Minor
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Release Date: August 19, 2014
Edward Hopper knew what he wanted to be when he grew up. An artist. With purpose and determination Hopper traveled from New York to Paris, studying and honing his craft. Despite little interest in his paintings, Hopper continued to dream.
It seems that no matter how famous the painter, the story is always the same. Years of struggle just to be recognized. Art critics telling the artist how terrible they are. Quiet reclusive artists toiling away in studios hoping that one day, someone will want to buy their art. Some manage to make a living as freelance artists and illustrators, however there are so many who for want of a paycheck and food on the table, must give it up. Their art gathers dust as they pursue other careers. Hopper seems lucky in that his work not only gained acclaim during his lifetime, but fairly "early" on in his career when he was nearly forty.
Hopper persevered, but from what I read, there were a great many unhappy years in which no one was interested in his art. As with many such biographies for children, the message is clear. Here is a man remembered for something great, but the only way he became great was through courage, determination, and resilience. A good message for young readers, if a bit simplified. Yet, it cannot be overstated that Hopper did have a vision and a goal in mind, one that he never quit working towards, no matter the amount of attention he received. In Edward Hopper's own words, "Great art if the outward expression of an inner life in the artist, and this inner life will result in his personal vision of the world."
Wendell Minor also does a great job of capturing the unique beauty of Hopper, while still making the illustrations his own. I was fascinated by the pictures of Hopper's own works compared against the illustrations within the book. The juxtaposition really displays the beauty of both artist's works.