“Hopper began art studies with a correspondence course in 1899. Soon, however, he transferred to the New York Institute of Art and Design. There he studied for six years, with teachers including William Merritt Chase, who instructed him in oil painting. Early on, Hopper modeled his style after Chase and French masters Édouard Manet and Edgar Degas. Sketching from live models proved a challenge and a shock for the conservatively raised Hopper.
“Another of his teachers, artist Robert Henri, taught life class. Henri encouraged his students to use their art to “make a stir in the world”. He also advised his students, “It isn’t the subject that counts but what you feel about it” and “Forget about art and paint pictures of what interests you in life.”
“At forty-one, Hopper finally received the recognition he deserved. He continued to harbor bitterness about his career, later turning down appearances and awards. His financial stability now secured, Hopper would live a simple, stable life and continue creating art in his distinctive style for four more decades.
His Two on the Aisle (1927) sold for a personal record $1,500, enabling Hopper to purchase an automobile, which he used to make field trips to remote areas of New England. In 1929, he produced Chop Suey and Railroad Sunset. The following year, art patron Stephen Clark donated House by the Railroad (1925) to the Museum of Modern Art, the first oil painting it acquired for its collection. Hopper painted his last self-portrait in oil around 1930.