Kathie Bennewitz, Executive Director of the Edward Hopper House Museum & Study Center on North Broadway in Nyack, highlights that Edward Hopper, renowned for his portrayal of houses, had roots in just one—the very house found in Nyack. The impact of Hopper’s formative years in Nyack on his iconic artworks takes center stage in a compelling new documentary airing on January 2 at 9 p.m. on PBS’s American Masters series titled Hopper: An American Love Story.
Hopper: An American Love Story
This captivating 52-minute feature by filmmaker Phil Grabsky and writers and producers Michael and Cynthia Cascio, not only delves into Nyack’s influence on shaping Hopper’s artistic vision but also sheds light on Jo Nivison’s pivotal role in his career. Following their marriage in 1923, Hopper’s career soared to the zenith of American realism, coinciding with Jo’s own artistic journey hitting obstacles. Prior to this union, Hopper had only managed to sell one painting despite showcasing his work in numerous exhibitions. Their lifelong partnership bore witness to the creation of many of America’s most cherished paintings.
Besides being his business partner, Jo served as the muse for female figures in iconic paintings such as Nighthawks, New York Movie, and Office at Night. Beyond their personal story, the film paints a larger picture of Hopper’s profound connection with America. This installment of American Masters features narration by actors J.K. Simmons and Christine Baranski, giving voice to Edward Hopper and Josephine Nivison Hopper.
January is an Exciting Month at the Museum
Kicking off the month is a special pop-up exhibit showcasing Jo Nivison’s watercolors from the museum’s collection for the initial two weeks of January, complementing Hopper: An American Love Story. Her paintings not only stand as individual masterpieces but also significantly influenced Hopper’s later works by expanding his artistic palette. Often painting side-by-side en plein air in locations like Gloucester and Truro, MA, their artistic collaborations were profound.
On January 20, a new exhibit featuring David Salle: Works on Paper opens, displaying a selection of figural paintings completed in 2023. Salle, known for his versatility across mediums like painting, printmaking, photography, and stage design, presents a dialogue with Hopper’s work, particularly in the use of light and shadow to evoke a sense of lived experiences.
For those yet to experience the museum, a journey back to the 1890s awaits—a glimpse into Hopper’s upbringing. Explore his bedroom with a window overlooking the Hudson River, the dining room mantle immortalized in one of his paintings, his adolescent bike, boyhood sketches, and other artifacts from the collection, all weaving the narrative of Hopper’s connection with Nyack. The Museum welcomes visitors every Thursday and Friday from 1-4 pm and Saturday and Sunday from 12-5 pm.
Engage and Support
Preserved from demolition in 1971 and then restored through the efforts of concerned citizens, the Edward Hopper House Museum stands as a cornerstone of Nyack’s heritage. The museum thrives as a shared community experience, relying on donations, event participation, and volunteer contributions to sustain cherished programs such as the summer jazz programs, educational initiatives inspired by Nighthawks, and the preservation of Edward Hopper’s boyhood objects, sketches, and writings.
What better way to commence the year than by exploring this museum, becoming a member, and contributing to the preservation of this Nyack treasure?
Mike Hays is a 38-year resident of the Nyacks. He worked for McGraw-Hill Education in New York City for many years. He serves as President of the Historical Society of the Nyacks, and Vice-President of the Edward Hopper House Museum & Study Center. He is married to Bernie Richey and enjoys cycling and winters in Florida. You can follow him on Instagram as UpperNyackMike.
Editor’s note: This article is sponsored and written by Sun River Health. Sun River Health is a network of 43 Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) providing primary, dental, pediatric, OB-GYN, and behavioral health care to over 245,000 patients annually.