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Last month the Edward Hopper House Art Center, located in the artist’s childhood home in Nyack, New York, dedicated one of its rooms to the late Reverend Arthayer R. Sanborn. A friend of the Hopper family, Sanborn led the First Baptist Church down the street from the Center and had lent the institution many works by Hopper his personal collection before his death in 2007. Sanborn also maintained the Hopper house when it fell vacant in the late 1960s.

Gail Levin, an art historian and foremost expert on Hopper, has stepped forward to object to Sanborn’s seemingly harmless recognition. Levin sent an e-mail to various news organization raising questions about how Sanborn came into his collection that included paintings, watercolors, and drawings by Hopper. Sanborn, who had eventually put more than 100 of works from his collection up for sale, claimed that Hopper and his wife, Josephine, had given many of the works to him. Levin rebutted this and said that during a conversation with Sanborn in the 1970s, he complained that Hopper had given him nothing, despite the fact that he was caring for him and his aging wife. Sanborn also claimed that he had purchased a number of works from the estate of Josephine Hopper, but under Mrs. Hopper’s will, it states that all of Hopper’s works were to go to the Whitney Museum of Art.

Officials at the Hopper House Center addressed Levin’s claims and said that the dispute was not of major concern as Sanborn has been deceased for the past five years, making her case difficult to pursue. The Center also values the Reverend’s contributions and isn’t looking to sever any ties with the Sanborn family.

Published in News
The essentials of childhood form us all. Even when we rebel against them, our thoughts, beliefs, dreams, and preferences are consequences of our birthplace and earliest years, and Edward Hopper (1882–1967) was no exception. His artistic personality was shaped by his roots in Nyack, New York, and the town and its environs helped contribute to the figure he would become. Nyack’s general history, topography, and architecture were critical to his early preoccupations and his later pursuits, and the particulars of his family’s own house at 82 North Broadway afforded him an ideal place to flourish. During the period he lived in Nyack, which lasted until 1910, when he rented his first known studio in Manhattan, Hopper began formulating the central themes of his art, those which distinguished him from everyone else, and were his and his alone.
Published in Articles
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