Gift of Edward Hopper material enhances Whitney museum’s holdings

One of 21 Edward Hopper handwritten notebooks, which were recently donated to the museum. Whitney Museum of American Art image


NEW YORK – The Whitney Museum of American Art has received a major donation of archival materials relating to the artist Edward Hopper (1882–1967). The materials, to be known as the Sanborn Hopper Archive at the Whitney Museum of American Art, are the generous gift of the Arthayer R. Sanborn Hopper Collection Trust, says Adam D. Weinberg, the Whitney’s director.

The Sanborn Hopper Archive will be housed at the Whitney’s Frances Mulhall Achilles Library.

The gift consists of about 4,000 items including more than 300 letters and notes from Hopper to his family, friends and colleagues, 21 notebooks in Hopper’s own hand, and 90 notebooks by Hopper’s wife, Josephine Nivison Hopper, as well as extensive archival material relating to Hopper’s artistic career and personal life, such as photographs, personal papers and dealer records.

Carol Troyen, curator emerita of American paintings at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and principal organizer of the MFA’s 2007 Hopper retrospective, remarked, “This archive, so carefully and respectfully preserved, is a treasure trove of new information about one of the most admired and enigmatic American artists. The Hoppers were meticulous record keepers, and the notebooks, photographs, ledgers, correspondence and even the ticket stubs included in the Sanborns’ generous donation provide insights into the Hoppers’ daily routines, their friendships, the economics of his art-making, and—perhaps most enlightening—Hopper’s private reflections on painting. It is a boon to scholars and to those interested in both Hopper the artist and Hopper the person.”

This collection exemplifies the long-standing commitment the Whitney has made to the work of Edward Hopper, a relationship that began in 1920, when the Whitney Studio Club, the forerunner to the museum, gave him his first solo exhibition. Since the founding of the Museum in 1930, the Whitney has exhibited Hopper’s work more than that of any other artist.

The Sanborn Hopper Archive will strengthen the Whitney’s extensive holdings relating to Edward Hopper, which already includes over 3,000 works of art—the foremost collection of Hoppers in the world—as well as over 80 linear feet of research material in the Edward and Josephine Hopper Research Collection.