Museums + Galleries

A New Light

Edward Hopper’s drawings tell the story behind some of America’s most recognizable paintings.

Hopper’s Office at Night
Image courtesy of Walker Art Center
Hopper’s Office at Night is one of the treasures of the Walker’s collection.

You know the painting. A sparsely populated diner radiates light out onto the abandoned streets that surround it. Nighthawks is one of the most recognizable scenes in all of American art. But what you may not know is that Edward Hopper made more than a dozen drawings as he refined his vision for it.Edward Hopper Drawing from the Walker Art Museum

Hopper Drawing: A Painter’s Process, which comes to the Walker Art Center this month, is the first major exhibition focusing on this critical aspect of Hopper’s work. “Hopper’s drawings—largely unknown until now—were the core of his artistic practice,” says Walker curator Siri Engberg. “This is an unprecedented opportunity for Twin Cities audiences to see 22 of Hopper’s celebrated paintings together with the drawings the artist made as studies for his oils.”

The exhibition comes to the Walker from the Whitney Museum of American Art, home to one of the most comprehensive collections of Hopper’s work (Nighthawks remains in Chicago). In the show, Hopper’s canvases are accompanied by preparatory drawings and even archival photos of the buildings, spaces, and urban environments that inspired them. Hopper was an introvert, an outsider standing in the shadows. This exhibition offers us a rare opportunity to stand in those shadows with him and look over his shoulder. Hopper Drawing: A Painter’s Process opens March 13 at the Walker Art Center. 612-375-7600,