Jo N. Hopper




In 1980, I published the first-ever art historical article on Jo N. Hopper, a.k.a Josephine Verstille Nivison Hopper, in Women’s Art Journal, then edited by its founder, Elsa Honig Fine. I reproduced black and white photographs of some of Jo’s lost canvases such as Jewels for the Madonna (Homage to Illa) of ca 1935-45 or Edward Hopper Reading Robert Frost of ca 1955. I listed their whereabouts as in private collections, trying to protect the Whitney and hoping that these lost works might turn up, but they still haven’t more than 43 years later. My pioneering research was praised by Carrie Rickey in Norma Broude and Mary Garrard’s The Power of Feminist Art: The American Movement of the 1970s, History and Impact.

Determined to inscribe Jo Hopper into art history, starting in 1980, for more than twenty years, I alone published art historical essays on her and gave many talks, including a major paper, “Feminist Monographs and the Rediscovery of Jo Hopper,” for a panel, “The Politics of Rediscovery: The Monograph in Feminist Art History,” at the College Art Association’s Annual Meeting, held in New York, on February 15, 1997 and later published as “Writing about Forgotten Women Artists: The Rediscovery of Jo Nivison Hopper” in the 2003 anthology, Singular Women. I had recently just taken the decision to give Jo a major voice in my 1995 book, Edward Hopper: An Intimate Biography, a decision which, proved to be very controversial even among some women.

The Whitney Museum discarded Jo’s paintings on stretched canvases, which were in her bequest of all of Edward Hopper’s unsold art and all of her own works except for two named paintings. I have a copy of the list of 96 of her best framed artworks (watercolors and oils), 92 of which the Whitney gave away to hospitals that kept neither the art nor records of it. The other four were given to New York University, which still has them.

Josephine Verstille Nivison Hopper

Woman’s Art Journal, Spring/ Summer 1980, pp. 28-32.

The Leading Lady

from Edward Hopper: An Intimate Biography, (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1995), throughout, but especially pp. 146-166.


Biography & Catalogue Raisonné: Edward Hopper in Two Genres

Biography and Source Studies, vol. 2, 1996.


“The Role of Drawing in the Art of Edward Hopper,” (reprinted) and “Josephine Hopper,”

The Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum, Provincetown, MA, 1996, pp. 14-25 and 28-31.


“Treasure and Trouble – The Role of Gender in the Reception of New Archival Sources”

Biography and Source Studies, vol. 5, AMS Press, Inc., 2000, pp. 1-16.


Writing about Forgotten Women Artists: The Rediscovery of Jo Nivison Hopper

In Kristen Fredrickson and Sarah E. Webb, Singular Women: Writing the Lives of Women Artists (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003).

“Mr and Mrs Hopper”

London Review of Books, vol. 26, no. 12, June 2004.


Art World Power and Women’s Incognito Work: The Case of Edward and Jo Hopper

in Gender, Sexuality, and Museums: A Routledge Reader, Amy Levin, ed., Routlege Press,  2010,  93-102.


Art World Power and Women’s Incognito Work: The Cases of Edward and Jo Hopper and other Artist Couples

Journal of the Faculty of Letters, vol. 54, Okayama University, Japan, December 2010 pp. 147-171 (expanded version of that published in Museums and Gender.)


Tracing an Erased Artist in Multiple Archives: Josephine Verstille Nivison Hopper

The Brooklyn Rail, October 5, 2015.


Mapping Edward Hopper: Jo Hopper as an Artist and as her Husband’s Cartographer

special issue, “Cartographic Styles and Discourse” of The Artl@s Bulletin, an international transdisciplinary journal devoted to spatial and transnational questions in the history of the arts, 2018.





Jo N. Hopper, Our Lady of Good Voyage, 1923, Watercolor.


Jo N. Hopper, Gloucester Houses, ca 1923, watercolor, private collection.


Jo N. Hopper, The Methodist Church, Provincetown, 1930, watercolor.


Jo N. Hopper, Odor of  Sanctity, 1930, oil on canvas, Truro Public Library.

  Jo N. Hopper, Cape Cod Bedroom, ca 1944-46. LOST, discarded 
  from the artist’s bequest to the Whitney Museum.


Jo N. Hopper, Obituary, 1948, oil on canvas. given away from Jo’s bequest to a  hospital ca 1973 and then later recovered decades later by the Whitney, which kept its accession number from 1970.


Jo N. Hopper, Judson Tower, Washington Square, Looking South, ca. 1950, oil on canvas, LOST, discarded by the Whitney Museum from Jo Hopper’s Bequest.



Jo N. Hopper, Blue Rocker or Power of the Press, ca 1953-54, oil on canvas,   LOST, discarded by the Whitney Museum from Jo Hopper’s bequest.


Jo Hopper’s portrait, of Edward Hopper reading his favorite poet, an oil on canvas, LOST, discarded by the Whitney Museum from Jo Hopper’s bequest.