Edward Hopper’s New York window with cats… It’s a reimagining by Cat Artist Deborah Julian, conjuring a whimsical pairing. Hopper’s a curious character. You get an wide range of ideas about him. Like with cats.
by David Stone
Assorted Ideas, Large & Small
“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 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 are 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.
More from Assorted Ideas, Large & Small
- Cat-astrophic Crowding Shuts City Animal Shelters to New ArrivalsAnimal Care Centers of NYC cites ‘critical capacity issues’ as it grapples with a surge in people giving up pets, many due to financial pressures. Katie Honan, The City This article was originally published on … Read more
- Your Need to Know: Dying Cat StagesMost cat lovers have been through this at least once – the dying cat stages. It’s painful and puzzling, but it’s also inevitable. Our point here is to provide a list of common experiences we’ve … Read more
- Book Review: Learning to Love Your Cat’s Inner LionMay 12, 2023 by Hope Reese If you think your pet cat has a wild side, you’re not wrong. According to evolutionary biologist Jonathan B. Losos, “housecats aren’t that different from mountain lions.” In his … Read more
- The 7 Big Benefits of Cat Art in Your LifeIf you’re like most people, you probably think of art as a way to decorate your home or office. But did you know that art can also have a profound impact on your mental and … Read more
- Why cats are the best-evolved animals in the modern worldThere’s no denying that cats are some of the most fascinating creatures on the planet, but are they also the best-evolved? And while there are many reasons why they’re so special, one thing, in particular, … Read more