November 03, 1980 12:00 PM

by Gail Levin

In the drawing, the usherette in the movie theater is fat, her nose is big and her hair is limp. In the painting made from the drawing, the usherette is trim of figure and her pretty blond hair curls neatly at her neck. It is fascinating to see how artists work, how they transform nature and rearrange details in their paintings. Edward Hopper, who died in 1967, spent time in Paris yet he seems in many ways the most American of artists. One of his early teachers, in fact, was Robert Henri, leader of the Ashcan school, which was created in part to rid American art of its French influences. Hopper’s work, which this beautiful book reproduces in quantity, looks marvelous—especially as a contrast to abstract expressionism. Many of his compositions are indeed abstractions, despite the fact that we recognize every object depicted. Hopper’s work never fails to delight the eye, and this book effectively conveys his long career. (Norton, $29.95)

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