Etchings in the Night

I am an admirer of the paintings of Edward Hopper. Less well known are his etchings. At a glance, some people might think they are drawings or possibly that they are engravings. I had to double-check terminology. The big difference between an etching and an engraving is that making an engraving is a physical process. Etching is a chemical process. An engraver uses sharp tools to cut lines directly into a surface. Hopper and any etcher burn lines into a surface with acid.

I had never heard of the artist Martin Lewis until I read an article about his connection to Edward Hopper. He was a retired art teacher and had some success with his etchings until that form fell out of favor in the later 1930s.

For about 30 years until his death in 1962, he taught other people how to etch. One of those people was Edward Hopper.

by Martin Lewis
by Martin Lewis
by Martin Lewis
by Martin Lewis

You can see similarities in their etchings. Their style and the use of the cityscapes are obvious.

This technique allows for printmaking which can be very profitable.

It seems well established that Lewis was a mentor to Hopper in learning how to do etchings. Unfortunately, the two had a falling out and many years later Hopper disavowed Lewis’ influence on him as an artist or etcher.

Night Shadows - Edward Hopper - 1921 - Etching
Night Shadows by Hopper


Night on El Train - Edward Hopper - 1918 - Etching
Night on the El Train by Hopper


Late, but Lewis’ artwork sells now for significant amounts.