About Edward Hopper’s New York window with cats… It’s a reimagining by Cat Artist Deborah Julian. Hopper’s a curious character. You get an uncertain range of ideas about him. Like with cats.
by David Stone
“Sometimes talking to Eddie is just like dropping a stone in a well, except that it doesn’t thump when it hits bottom,” his wife, Jo, once said.
In her diary, she kept meticulous notes about his works in progress. Those included their lifetime of domestic battles, some of them physical.
Dropping her own career as an artist, she promoted and managed Edward’s.
She posed for him. She came up with names for many of his paintings.
And although it went against her personality, she adopted this reclusive lifestyle in Greenwich Village. They lived together for 40 years until his death in 1967.
Biographers focus on their troubled marriage, but when the Whitney Museum set up a large exhibit of preparatory artwork Hopper created on his way to mature canvases, many were dedicated to “My wife, Jo.”
His artwork too is full of contradictions….
A lot of people love looking at Hopper’s work as if he’s a more painterly. A sort of Norman Rockwell, a realist documenting the world he found around him.
Not so, according to Hopper.
In 1953, he made a statement for the journal, Reality: “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. No amount of skillful invention can replace the essential element of imagination. One of the weaknesses of much abstract painting is the attempt to substitute the inventions of the human intellect for a private imaginative conception.”
Art, then, is a subjective abstraction, but it needs recognizable objects. So much for illustrations.
In fact, Edward Hopper fans frequently like him because they mistake his paintings as something they are not.
Nighthawks is a good example.
In this painting, Hopper anchors his view from the darkened street to a lunch counter in Greenwich Village. It’s the middle of the night on an otherwise abandoned corner.
In the new, imagined version, the diner is a hangout for lost icons from pop culture, replacing Hopper’s figures… The Boulevard of Broken Dreams.
American idols pictured as lost souls, romanticized after death.
But Hopper intended it as a place populated by predators, not deceased Hollywood legends.
About the Cats in Edward Hopper’s Window
Hopper’s subjects lean out of windows, gaze dreamily through them and are exposed in them. Shades are raised, dramatizing accents between inner and outer lives. Most of the time, he sets them up like furniture, there to suggest something, but not active.
Cats, of course, are always naked, except for bizarre holiday rituals, and no window is incidental to a cat.
For Edward Hopper’s Window with Cats, Deborah combines elements from several Hopper paintings, mixes them up and adds some of her own.
This image is also available on Etsy as high quality, handmade notecard.
Then, she introduces Billy and Sam, both of whom instantly do what cats do: they leap to the windowsills for a wistful, but secure, gaze out at the big, big world.