EDWARD HOPPER Pope Innocent X (after Diego Velázquez).
Pen and ink on card stock, circa 1900. 125x196 mm; 5x7 3/4 inches. Inscribed "Velasquez" in ink, lower right recto.
Provenance: Estate of the artist, New York; Josephine N. Hopper, the artist's widow, New York; Reverend and Mrs. Arthayer R. Sanborn, Nyack; private collection, New York; private collection, Pennsylvania.
Exhibited: "Edward Hopper (1882-1967): Early Impressions," Provincetown Art Association and Museum, Provincetown, Massachusetts, May 21-July 4, 2010, and Berta Walker Gallery, Provincetown, Massachusetts, July 30-September 5, 2010.
Published: Edward Hopper (1882-1967): Early Impressions, Provincetown, 2010, catalogue number 4 (illustrated).
Hopper (1882-1967) made this study from the famous portrait painting of the Pamphili Pope, Innocent X (ruled 1644-1655) by the Spanish Golden Age master Diego Velázquez (1599-1660). Considered among the finest portraits ever painted, and now in the Galleria Doria Pamphili in Rome, Velázquez's work has prompted numerous artistic studies and responses. Perhaps most famously, the Irish-born artist Francis Bacon (1909-1992) painted a series of distorted variants, often known as the "Screaming Popes," which total more than forty-five known versions executed during the 1950s and early 1960s.
One of the motivators behind Hopper's interest in European art was his teacher during the early 1900s, Robert Henri (1865-1929). As an art instructor, Henri preached originality and urged Hopper's further study of European art. "Hopper had heard Henri praise the work of European artists such as Daumier, Courbet, Degas, Manet, Renoir, Rembrandt, Hals, Velásquez, Goya, and El Greco, and like so many of Henri's students, felt he should travel to Europe to see the works of these great masters firsthand. So, with his parents' help, he left for Paris in October 1906 and did not return until the following August," (Levin, Edward Hopper as Illustrator, New York, 1979, page 11).