Best known for iconic and enigmatic works including “Nighthawks,” “Chop Suey” and “House by the Railroad,” realist painter Edward Hopper has inspired countless artists and filmmakers, from Alfred Hitchcock to Ridley Scott to the creators of “The Simpsons.” But little is known about Hopper’s own influences. American Masters – HOPPER: An American love story, a new Edward Hopper documentary, reveals the man behind the brush and explores how his marriage to fellow artist Josephine Nivison Hopper shaped his art and career.
The Edward Hopper documentary American Masters – HOPPER: An American love story premieres nationwide Tuesday, January 2, 2024, at 9 p.m. ET on PBS (check local listings), pbs.org/americanmasters and the PBS App.
Featuring a generous selection of Hopper’s evocative images, revealing research and rare archival footage, American Masters – HOPPER: An American love story offers an exploration into his complex life, and how he became an enigmatic yet wildly popular artist. Hopper’s story is further illuminated through readings of letters and diary entries, voiced by Academy Award winner J.K. Simmons (“Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse”) and Emmy Award winner Christine Baranski (“The Gilded Age”) as Edward and Josephine, respectively. Isabel May (“1923”) also voices Hopper’s earlier, secret romantic interest Alta Hilsdale.
American Masters – HOPPER: An American love story reveals that one cannot understand Edward Hopper without understanding his relationship with his wife, Jo. Before Hopper became one of the most well-known American artists, he sold his first painting, “Sailing,” for $250 and did not sell another for 11 years.
His fortune changed dramatically when he met fellow artist Josephine Nivison in Gloucester, Massachusetts. Nivison becomes Hopper’s primary model, marketer and muse. Her candid diaries chronicle her experience giving up her own promising career to take on the management of her husband’s work to boost his reputation and sales. With excerpts from rare television interviews, the film captures Edward Hopper’s peculiar personality and insight into his own art, as well as Josephine’s reflections on her sacrifice for him.
HOPPER: An American love story will also kick off efforts for the recently announced American Masters Visibility, Inclusion and Accessibility (VIA) Initiative, which aims to build upon the series’ commitment to presenting programming for, by and about disabled communities. The digital version of the film and its accompanying trailer will be the first to feature extended audio description, open captioning and onscreen ASL interpretation.
The Edward Hopper documentary, HOPPER: An American love story, is a production of M&C Media, Exhibition on Screen and Seventh Art Productions in association with American Masters Pictures. Written and directed by Emmy winner Michael Cascio and BAFTA winner Phil Grabsky. Produced by Cynthia Weber Cascio and Amanda Wilkie. Phil Grabsky, Michael Cascio, Cynthia Weber Cascio and Amanda Wilkie are Executive Producers. Michael Kantor is Executive Producer for American Masters. Michael Kantor is executive producer for American Masters.
PBS ‘American Masters’
Now in its 38th season on PBS, American Masters illuminates the lives and creative journeys of our nation’s most enduring artistic giants — those who have left an indelible impression on our cultural landscape — through compelling, unvarnished stories. Setting the standard for documentary film profiles, the series has earned widespread critical acclaim: 28 Emmy Awards — including 10 for Outstanding Non-Fiction Series and five for Outstanding Non-Fiction Special— two News & Documentary Emmys, 14 Peabodys, three Grammys, two Producers Guild Awards, an Oscar, and many other honors.
To further explore the lives and works of more than 250 masters past and present, the American Masters website offers full episodes, film outtakes, filmmaker interviews, the podcast “American Masters: Creative Spark,” educational resources, digital original series and more. The series is a production of The WNET Group.
American Masters is available for streaming concurrent with broadcast on all station-branded PBS platforms, including PBS.org and the PBS App, available on iOS, Android, Roku streaming devices, Apple TV, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Samsung Smart TV, Chromecast and VIZIO. PBS station members can view many series, documentaries and specials via PBS Passport. For more information about PBS Passport, visit the PBS Passport FAQ website.