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Edward Hopper

1882-1967

Edward Hopper, Self-Portrait, 1945; Charcoal on paper, 22 x 14 15/16 in. (55.9 x


37.9 cm); Whitney Museum of American Art, New York;
Self Portrait – 1903 – Oil on Canvas
Study of seated and standing woman – 1899/1900 – ink on paper
The El Station – 1908 – Oil on Canvas
Night on the El Train – 1918 - Etching
American Landscape – 1918 - Etching
Night Shadows – 1921- Etching
E
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Adobe Houses – 1925 – watercolor on paper
The Mansard Roof – 1923 - Watercolor
In this print, the viewer is given a bird's-eye perspective of a city street corner. Hopper has
evoked an entire world with just a few elements: a storefront, a fire hydrant, and a lone walking
man who is about to cross the looming shadow of a streetlight that lies across his path. The
setting that inspired Hopper was an actual location in New York, which the artist also used for
his oil painting 'New York Corner' (also known as 'Corner Saloon', 1913; Museum of Modern Art,
New York). It is a downtown street near the riverfront, marked by a simple brick building with a
painted sign; yet as ordinary as this place may be, Hopper has made it seem mysterious and
even threatening through the use of dark tonalities and strong compositional devices. The
viewer becomes a voyeur, watching the unaware pedestrian, and a possible narrative of the
man's destination at this late hour (when even the saloon is closed) extends beyond the single
moment of the image. Hopper's sensibility in such a work as'Night Shadows' forecasts the film
noir style of the 1940s, with its shadowy lighting and its narratives of crime, guilt, and betrayal.
Although the imagery of 'Night Shadows' is characteristic of Hopper's work, this etching is
unusual in his oeuvre in one respect. He normally printed his own works, in very small numbers;
in this case, however, a commercial printer "steel-faced" the etching plate of 'Night Shadow's for
longer wear, and printed a large edition of several hundred images. The resulting etchings were
included in a folio titled "American Etchings," published in the December 1924 issue of the New
Republic.
foi um pintor, artista gráfico e ilustrador norte-americano conhecido por suas misteriosas
pinturas de representações realistas da solidão na contemporaneidade.[1] Em ambos os
cenários urbanos e rurais, as suas representações de reposição fielmente recriadas reflecte a
sua visão pessoal da vida moderna americana.

Nascido no estado de Nova Iorque, Hopper estudou design gráfico, ilustração e pintura na cidade de Nova Iorque.[2] Um
dos seus professores, o artista Robert Henri, encorajava os seus estudantes a usar as suas artes para "fazer um movimento
no mundo". Henri, uma influência para Hopper, motivou estudantes a fazerem descrições realistas da vida urbana. Os
estudantes de Henri, muitos dos quais desenvolveram-se artistas importantes, tornaram-se conhecidos como Escola Ashcan
de arte norte-americana.

Ao completar a sua educação formal, Hopper fez três viagens pela Europa para estudar a cena emergente de arte europeia,
mas diferente de muitos dos seus contemporâneos que imitavam as experiências abstratas do cubismo, o idealismo dos
pintores realistas ressonou com Hopper, logo projetou os reflexos da influência realista.

Enquanto trabalhava, por vários anos, como artista comercial, Hopper continuou pintando. Em 1925 produziu Casa ao lado
da ferrovia, um trabalho clássico que marcou sua maturidade artística. A obra é a primeira de uma série da cena totalmente
urbana e rural de linhas finas e formas largas, feita com uma iluminação incomum para capturar a solidão que marca sua
obra. Ele trouxe o seu tema das características comuns da vida Norteamericana - estações de gasolina, hotéis, ferrovia, ou
uma rua vazia.
Painting did not come easily to Edward Hopper. Each canvas represented a long, morose
gestation spent in solitary thought. There were no sweeping brushstrokes from a fevered
hand, no electrifying eurekas. He considered, discarded and pared down ideas for months
before he squeezed even a drop of paint onto his palette. In the early 1960s, the artist
Raphael Soyer visited Hopper and his wife, Josephine, in their summer house on a bluff
above the sea in Cape Cod. Soyer found Hopper sitting in front gazing at the hills and Jo, as
everyone called her, in back, staring in the opposite direction. "That's what we do," she said
to Soyer. "He sits in his spot and looks at the hills all day, and I look at the ocean, and when
we meet there's controversy, controversy, controversy." Expressed with Jo's characteristic
flash (an artist herself and once an aspiring actress, she knew how to deliver a line), the
vignette summarizes both Hopper's creative process and the couple's fractious yet enduring
relationship. Similarly, Hopper's close friend, American painter and critic Guy Pène du Bois,
once wrote that Hopper "told me...that it had taken him years to bring himself into the
painting of a cloud in the sky."

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For all his cautious deliberation, Hopper created more than 800 known paintings, watercolors
and prints, as well as numerous drawings and illustrations. The best of them are uncanny
distillations of New England towns and New York City architecture, with exact time and place
arrested. His stark yet intimate interpretations of American life, sunk in shadow or broiling in
the sun, are minimal dramas suffused with maximum power. Hopper had a remarkable ability
to invest the most ordinary scene—whether at a roadside gas pump, a nondescript diner or a
bleak hotel room—with intense mystery, creating narratives that no viewer can ever quite
unravel. His frozen and isolated figures often seem awkwardly drawn and posed, but he
eschewed making them appear too graceful or showy, which he felt would be false to the
mood he sought to establish. Hopper's fidelity to his own vision, which lingered on the
imperfections of human beings and their concerns, made his work a byword for honesty and
emotional depth. Critic Clement Greenberg, the leading exponent of Abstract Expressionism,
saw the paradox. Hopper, he wrote in 1946, "is not a painter in the full sense; his means are
second-hand, shabby, and impersonal." Yet Greenberg was discerning enough to add: "Hopper
simply happens to be a bad painter. But if he were a better painter, he would, most likely, not
be so superior an artist."
As to controversy, there is little left anymore. Hopper's star has long blazed brightly. He is
arguably the supreme American realist of the 20th century, encapsulating aspects of our
experience so authentically that we can hardly see a tumbledown house near a deserted
road or a shadow slipping across a brownstone facade except through his eyes. Given
Hopper's iconic status, it is surprising to learn that no comprehensive survey of his work has
been seen in American museums outside New York City in more than 25 years. This drought
has been remedied by "Edward Hopper," a retrospective currently at the Museum of Fine
Arts, Boston through August 19 and continuing on to Washington, D.C.'s National Gallery of
Art (Sept. 16, 2007-Jan. 21, 2008) and the Art Institute of Chicago (Feb. 16-May 11, 2008).
Consisting of more than 100 paintings, watercolors and prints, most of them dating from
roughly 1925 to 1950, the period of the artist's greatest achievement, the show spotlights
Hopper's most compelling compositions.

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Edward Hopper was born July 22, 1882, in Nyack, New York, 25 miles north of New York
City, into a family of English, Dutch, French and Welsh ancestry. His maternal grandfather
built the house—preserved today as a landmark and community art center—where he and
his sister, Marion, who was two years older, grew up. Hopper's father, Garrett Henry
Hopper, was a dry goods merchant. His mother, Elizabeth Griffiths Smith Hopper, enjoyed
drawing, and both his parents encouraged their son's artistic inclinations and preserved his
early sketches of himself, his family and the local countryside.

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Although Hopper's parents recognized their son's gifts and let him study art, they were
prudent enough to require that he specialize in illustration as a way to make a living. After
graduating from high school in 1899, Hopper enrolled in a commercial art school in New
York City and stayed there about a year, after which he transferred to the New York School
of Art, founded in 1896 by the American Impressionist William Merritt Chase. Hopper
continued to study illustration but also learned to paint from the most influential teachers
of the day, including Chase, Robert Henri and Kenneth Hayes Miller. Both Chase and Henri
had been influenced by Frans Hals, Velázquez and French Impressionism, particularly as
exemplified by Édouard Manet. Henri encouraged his students to emancipate themselves
from tired academic formulas, espousing a realism that plunged into the seamier aspects
of American cities for its subject matter. As a successful artist looking back, Hopper had
reservations about Henri as a painter, but he always granted that his teacher was a
vigorous advocate for an enlightened way of seeing. Inspired by Henri's motivating force,
the youthful Hopper stayed on at the school for six years, drawing from life and painting
portraits and genre scenes. To support himself, he taught art there and also worked as a
commercial artist. Hopper and his friend Rockwell Kent were both in Miller's class, and
some of their early debates turned on painterly problems that remained of paramount
fascination for Hopper. "I've always been intrigued by an empty room," he remembered.
"When we were at school...[we] debated what a room looked like when there was
nobody to see it, nobody looking in, even." In an empty room absence could suggest
presence. This idea preoccupied Hopper for his entire life, from his 20s through his last
years, as is evident in Rooms by the Sea and Sun in an Empty Room, two majestic pictures
from the 1950s and '60s.
Another essential part of a budding artist's education was to go abroad. By saving money
from his commercial assignments, Hopper was able to make three trips to Europe
between 1906 and 1910. He lived primarily in Paris, and in letters home he rhapsodized
about the beauty of the city and its citizens' appreciation of art.

Despite Hopper's enjoyment of the French capital, he registered little of the innovation or
ferment that engaged other resident American artists. At the time of Hopper's first visit to
Paris, the Fauves and the Expressionists had already made their debuts, and Picasso was
moving toward Cubism. Hopper saw memorable retrospectives of Courbet, whom he
admired, and Cézanne, about whom he complained. "Many Cézannes are very thin," he
later told writer and artist Brian O'Doherty. "They don't have weight." In any case,
Hopper's own Parisian pictures gave intimations of the painter he was to become. It was
there that he put aside the portrait studies and dark palette of the Henri years to
concentrate on architecture, depicting bridges and buildings glowing in the soft French
light.
Stairway at 48th Rue de Lille Paris- 1906
Valey of the Seine – 1908 – Oil on Canvas
New York Corner – 1913 – Oil on Canvas
After returning to the United States in 1910, Hopper never visited Europe again. He was set
on finding his way as an American, and a transition toward a more individual style can be
detected in New York Corner, painted in 1913. In that canvas, he introduces the motif of red-
brick buildings and the rhythmic fugue of opened and closed windows that he would bring to
a sensational pitch in the late 1920s with The City, From Williamsburg Bridge and Early
Sunday Morning. But New York Corner is transitional; the weather is misty rather than sunny,
and a throng uncharacteristically congregates in front of a stoop.
The City – 1927 – Oil on Canvas
From Williamsburg Bridge – 1928 – Oil on Canvas
Strongly defined lighting, clearly defined lines, and cropped viewpoints, were some of
the features which this art work captured; and, this embodied the style in which
Edward Hopper would use later on in his career, and with the future works that he
would produce during the course of his career as an artist.
Realista imaginativo, esse artista retratou com subjetividade a solidão urbana e a
estagnação do homem causando ao observador um impacto psicológico. A obra
de Hopper sofreu forte influência dos estudos psicológicos de Freud e da teoria
intuicionista de Bergson, que buscavam uma compreensão subjetiva do homem e
de seus problemas. O tema das pinturas de Hopper são as paisagens urbanas,
porém, desertas, melancólicas e iluminadas por uma luz estranha. "Os edifícios,
geralmente enormes e vazios, assumem um aspecto inquietante e a cena parece
ser dominada por um silêncio perturbador". [3] Obras de estilo realista
imaginativo. Arte individualista, embora com temas identificados aos da Ashcan
School. Expressão de solidão, vazio, desolação e estagnação da vida humana,
expresso pelas figuras anônimas que jamais se comunicam. Pinturas que evocam
silêncio, reserva, com um tratamento suave, exercendo freqüentemente forte
impacto psicológico. Semelhança com a pintura metafísica.
Edward Hopper is widely acknoledged as the most important realist painter of twentieth-century America. But his vision of reality was a selective
one, reflecting his own temperament in the empty cityscapes, landscapes, and isolated figures he chose to paint. His work demonstrates that
realism is not merely a literal or photographic copying of what we see, but an interpretive rendering.

Edward Hopper was born in 1882, in NY, into a middle class family. From 1900 to 1906 he studied at the NY School of Art, and while in school,
shifted from illustration to works of fine art. Upon completing his schooling, he worked as an illustrator for a short period of time; once this
career path ended, he made three international trips, which had a great influence on the future of his work, and the type of art he would engage
in during the course of his career. He made three trips to Europe between 1906 and 1910. In retrospect, Europe meant France, and more
specifically, Paris, for Edward Hopper. This city , its architecture, light, and art tradition, decisively affected his development.

When he arrived in 1906, Paris was the artistic center of the Western world; no other city was as important for the development of modern art.
The move toward abstract painting was already underway; Cubism had begun. There, in 1907, Picasso painted his legendary Les Demoiselles
d'Avignon. Hopper, however, later maintained that when he was in Paris he never heard of Picasso, who was to become so important for the
development of modern literature. For Hopper, the encounter with Impressionism was decisive. The light in these paintings and the thematic
treatment of architecture and nature particularly attracted him and were to influence all of his work. His reaction to the Impressionists is directly
reflected in his own art. He forgot the dark, Old Master-like interiors of his New York student days, when he was influenced mainly by the great
European artists - Francisco Goya, Caravaggio, El Greco, and Diego Velazquez. The influence of Impressionists, like Cezanne, Monet, Degas, and
Pissarro is directly reflected in his own art. His palette lit up and he began to paint with light and quick strokes. Even in 1962, he could say, "I
think I'm still an Impressionist."
In 1910 Hopper returned to the United States, never to leave North America again. During the 1910s, Edward Hopper struggled quite a bit to gain
any recognition for the works he had created. During this period a number of his works were distributed through various shows and exhibits in
New York, but very little, if any attention, was given to his pieces. Oil painting was a focal point of the work he had done, but a majority of the
sales he made during this period, was for works he had created doing etching work and murals.

At the age of 37, Edward Hopper received his first open invitation to do a one person exhibit, featuring some of this finest pieces of art. 16 pieces
of his work were shown at the Whitney Club, and although none of the pieces were sold at this exhibit, it did point his career in a new direction,
it got his art work out to the general public, and he became a more notable name in the type of work and the art forms which he most wanted to
focus his career on, for the future works he would create.

A few years later, Edward Hopper found his career had taken a turn for the better, and he was doing well in sales, and financially with the works
he had created. He was invited to do a second one person exhibit, to feature new works, and to create a buzz about the work he had created in
recent years. The Frank KM Rehn Gallery in NYC, was where this second exhibit took place, and it received far more attention and a much larger
crowd, due to the location where the exhibit was taking place, and also because of the fact that more people were now aware of the works
Edward Hopper had created.
In 1923, Edward Hopper married a fellow student who attended the NY Academy where he got his education, Josephine Nivision. Not only did she pose for
nearly half of the female figure pieces which he created during his career, she also encouraged and pushed him to engage in different art forms during his
career as well. She pushed him to work with water colors, and she kept records of all the pieces he designed, the exhibits he was to be a part of, and all of the
sales of the pieces which were made, during these exhibits in which his work was presented.

In 1933, Edward Hopper received further praises for the works he had done, and for a piece that was on exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art. His highly
identifiable style, and mature painting styles, were some things he had become known for during this period. The gorgeous landscapes, the quiet rooms and
empty rooms he designed, and the transitory effect which many of his works posed, created a sense of contemporary life and a new style, which many in the
art world recognized, and many praised him for this distinct style he had created in his art forms.

In Edward Hopper's most famous piece, Nighthawks, there are four customers and a waiter, who are in a brightly lit diner at night. It was a piece created
during a wartime; and many believe that their disconnect with the waiter, and with the external world, represent the feelings of many Americans during this
period, because of the war. The piece was set up in 1942, in the Art Institute of Chicago, and was seen by many people while it was on exhibit for a show.

Between the 1930s and 1950s, Edward Hopper and his wife spent quite a bit of time, and most of their summers, visiting Cape Cod, Massachusetts. In many
of the works that Hopper created during this period, many of the scenes, the common locations, and nearby attractions which they visited, were often seen in
the art forms that he created during his career. He also started to travel further out, and visited regions from Vermont out to Charleston, in order to add more
new points of interest to his collection, and to broaden the works and the locations which he would include in many of the images that he created over the
course of his career.

Later in his career, many of his works were displayed in various exhibits, namely at the Whitney Museum, which was located in New York City. Later in his
career, during the 1940s, was a period in which he found the most commercial success. But, soon after, and even during this time period, he began losing
critical favors. This was namely due to the new forms of art, and the fact that abstract pieces were beginning to enter the art world, which took over the work
he did, as well as the work of many famous artists prior to him.

His choices of subject matter - particularly the places he painted - seem to have been somewhat unpredictable, since they were part of his constant battle
with the chronic boredom that often stifled his urge to paint. This is what kept Hopper on the move - his search for inspiration, least painfully found in the
stimulation of new surroundings.

Great art is the outward expression of an inner life of the artist, and this innerlife will result in his personal vision of the world.” - Edward Hopper

In the 1940s and 1950s, Hopper found himself losing critical favor in the wake of Abstract Expressionism. Among the new vanguard art movement emerged in
the early 1940s, artists such as Willem de Kooning, Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko advanced audacious formal inventions in a search for significant content.
By breaking away from accepted conventions in both technique and subject matter, those artists made monumentally scaled works that stood as reflections
of their individual psyches, and attempted to tap into universal inner sources. But Hopper continues on to paint the feeling familiar to most humans - the
triste embedded in existence, in our intimate knowledge of the solitude of the self. Although the 20th century was the heyday of Sigmund Freud and Freudian
Psychoanalysis, if ever Hopper felt his psyche was distorted, he did not want it corrected, for art came from who the artist was in every way. He did not wish
to tamper with his subconscious nor his personal vision of the world. Hopper never lacked popular appeal, however, and by the time of his death in 1967,
Hopper had been reclaimed as a major influence by a new generation of American realist artists.
Night Windows – 1928 – Oil on Canvas
Eleven A.M. – 1926 – Oil on Canvas
A woman, hands clasped together, sits in a blue armchair looking out of her apartment
window. She is naked except for a pair of flats on her feet, and sits in profile. The viewer is, as
always, denied any real access to the female figure's individuality: her hair falls over her face,
allowing the viewer only a glimpse of her nose. Though the armchair is angled in the viewer's
direction, the figure's body is angled away from the viewer and toward the window. The
viewer gazes at the female's body without being confronted in return. There is a lamp atop a
table in the painting's foreground, and a discarded coat is in the left background. A small
framed painting hangs over a dresser behind the woman. Hopper's Eleven A.M. of 1926
continues to demonstrate his desire to relegate the female to his canvas.

Eleven A.M.'s female figure dominates the composition, in large part because the paleness of
her skin contrasts so strongly with the other colors in the painting: the blue of her chair, the
deep red of the lamp in the work's foreground, and the green of the curtains in the left
background. She is also the work's compositional center, anchoring its tightly constructed
space. Foreshortened, the painting draws the viewer into the woman's intimate space. Some
art critics find that the same sense of containment and regulation of female sexuality appears
in Eleven A.M. and suggests that Hopper curtails the threat of female sexuality by repeatedly
locking his female nudes into their domestic interiors.
City Roofs – 1932 – Oil on Canvas
Automat, 1927- Oil on Canvas
Edward Hopper, Study for Nighthawks (verso), 1941 or 1942, fabricated chalk on paper,
8 7/16 x 11 in.

COURTESY WHITNEY MUSEUM OF AMERICAN ART, NEW YORK; JOSEPHINE N. HOPPER


BEQUEST 70.200A-B. ©HEIRS OF JOSEPHINE N. HOPPER, LICENSED BY THE WHITNEY
MUSEUM OF AMERICAN ART. DIGITAL IMAGE ©WHITNEY MUSEUM OF AMERICAN ART,
NY.
Top left: Edward Hopper, Study for Nighthawks (verso), 1941 or 1942, fabricated chalk on paper,
8 1/2 x 10 15/16 in. Top right: 8 7/16 x 10 15/16 in. Bottom : 8 1/2 x 11 in. Bottom right: :8 1/2 x
11 1/16 in.
Edward Hopper, Study for Nighthawks, 1941 or 1942; Fabricated chalk on paper, 8 1/2 x
11 1/16 in. (21.6 x 28.1 cm); Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Josephine N.
Hopper Bequest 70.195
Edward Hopper, Study for Nighthawks, 1941 or 1942; Fabricated chalk on paper, 8 7/16 x 10
15/16 in. (21.4 x 27.8 cm); Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Josephine N.
Hopper Bequest 70.193
Sometime in 1941 or ’42, Edward Hopper, who liked to prowl New York City with a
handheld sketchbook, lingered in a diner, making studies of a man wearing a suit and a
fedora.

He made a few quick frontal studies of figures sitting at the counter.

The man, seen in just slightly more profile, is an early and close relation to the painted version
in Nighthawks, Hopper’s melancholy, suggestive, much-parodied 1942 masterpiece that is
surely the most famous diner scene in art history. (The tableware made it into the picture, too.)

These drawings are among 19 studies for Nighthawks, brought together for the first time, in a
revelatory show now at the Whitney. “Hopper Drawing” deploys 200 Hopper drawings—part of
a trove of 2,500 bequeathed by the artist’s widow, Josephine—to showcase the role of drawing
throughout his career, from his life drawing classes at the New York School of Art in the early
1900s, to his travels in Europe and Paris from 1906 to 1910, to the studies he made at the
Whitney Studio Club and beyond. (After closing at the Whitney on October 6, the show will
travel to the Dallas Museum of Art and the Walker Art Center.)
Edward Hopper, Study for Nighthawks, 1941 or 1942, fabricated
chalk on paper, 4 7/16 x 7 3/16 in.
Edward Hopper, Study for Nighthawks, 1941 or 1942; Fabricated chalk and charcoal on
paper; 11 1/8 x 15 in. (28.3 x 38.1 cm); Whitney Museum of American Art, New York;
purchase and gift of Josephine N. Hopper by exchange 2011.65
Nighthakws – 1927 – Oil on canvas
Nighthawks is a 1942 painting by Edward Hopper that portrays people sitting in a downtown diner late at night. It is Hopper's
most famous work and is one of the most recognizable paintings in American art. Within months of its completion, it was sold
the Art Institute of Chicago for $3,000, and has remained there ever since.
Starting shortly after their marriage in 1924, Edward Hopper and his wife, Josephine (Jo), kept a journal in which he would, usi
a pencil, make a sketch-drawing of each of his paintings, along with a precise description of certain technical details. Jo Hoppe
would then add additional information in which the themes of the painting are, to some degree, illuminated.

A review of the page on which "Nighthawks" is entered shows (in Edward Hopper's handwriting) that the intended name of th
work was actually "Night Hawks", and that the painting was completed on January 21, 1942.

Jo's handwritten notes about the painting give considerably more detail, including the interesting possibility that the painting'
evocative title may have had its origins as a reference to the beak-shaped nose of the man at the bar:

Night + brilliant interior of cheap restaurant. Bright items: cherry wood counter + tops of surrounding stools; light on metal tan
at rear right; brilliant streak of jade green tiles 3/4 cross canvas at base of glass of window curving at corner. Light walls, dull
yellow ocre [sic] door into kitchen right. Very good looking blond boy in white (coat, cap) inside counter. Girl in red blouse, bro
hair eating sandwich. Man night hawk (beak) in dark suit, steel grey hat, black band, blue shirt (clean) holding cigarette. Other
figure dark sinister back at left. Light side walk outside pale greenish. Darkish red brick houses opposite. Sign across top of
restaurant, dark Phillies 5c cigar. Picture of cigar. Outside of shop dark, green. Note: bit of bright ceiling inside shop against dar
of outside street at edge of stretch of top of window.

Nighthawks was probably Hopper's most ambitious essay in capturing the night-time effects of manmade light. For one thing,
the diner's plate-glass windows cause far more light to spill out onto the sidewalk and the brownstones on the far side of the
street than is true in any of his other paintings. As well, this interior light comes from more than a single lightbulb, with the res
that multiple shadows are cast, and some spots are brighter than others as a consequence of being lit from more than one ang
Across the street, the line of shadow caused by the upper edge of the diner window is clearly visible towards the top of the
painting. These windows, and the ones below them as well, are partly lit by an unseen streetlight, which projects its own mix o
light and shadow. As a final note, the bright interior light causes some of the surfaces within the diner to be reflective. This is
clearest in the case of the right-hand edge of the rear window, which reflects a vertical yellow band of interior wall, but fainter
reflections can also be made out, in the counter-top, of three of the diner's occupants. None of these reflections would be visi
in daylight.
New York movie – 1927 – Oil on Canvas
A movie theater in New York, one of those elaborate mock palaces where Hollywood spirits us
for a few hours into another world - in this case apparently the high mountains. Spirits us as
audience, that is, but not the usher, who has probably seen the movie a thousand times and
waits for the curtain, mulling over her own thoughts. Her stationary figure counterpoints the
screen with its incessantly flickering illusions of places not here and not now.
Like most of the female figures in Hopper's paintings, this one was based on his wife, Jo, who
posed standing under a lamp in the hall of their apartment. As the many preliminary studies
for the picture show, Hopper not only drew his wife in various different poses for New York
Movie, but precisely designed the auditorium decor, down to the pattern of the carpet. Again
and again he sketched the foyers, stairways, and auditoriums of his favorite movie houses, the
Palace, Globe, Republic, and Strand.

The entire painting is concerned with leavetaking, with seeming to be sated with a wealth of
illusions that includes the film and the building, and with allowing this artificial world to lull
one into thinking that life is not alienating and that the modern world is wonderful because it
provides larger-than-life experiences in the theater. The usherette who is caught up in her
own daydreams and the isolated spectators, however, point up the hollowness of this
sumptuous and action-filled world. The usherette is a twentieth-century counterpart to the
bored waitress in A Bar at the Folies-Bergeres of Edouard Manet. Similar to Manet, Hopper
has a genius for making the illusory world of the theater so enticing, so glamorous, and so
completely empty. He tantalizes his assumed viewer with an almost mystical apricot light that
illuminates the steps that lead out of this unreal world where the usherette stands guard.
Chop Suey – 1929- Oil on Canvas
Chop Suey (1929) is a painting by Edward Hopper which portrays two women in conversation
at a restaurant. According to some art scholars, one "striking detail of Chop Suey is that its
female subject faces her doppelganger." Others have pointed out it would not be so unusual
for two women to be wearing similar hats, and that it is presumptuous to claim
doppelgangers when one of subject's face is not visible to the viewer. The painting has an
interior subject matter, being inside of a cafe and not specifying on any one given figure. As
with many of Hopper's works, the painting features a close attention to the effects of light on
his subjects.
Early Sunday Morning – 1930 – Oil on canvas
Early Sunday Morning, a painting that can either be taken as a quiet and peaceful scene of
small businesses that are closed or considered a comment on the Depression. Hopper pointed
out in a conversation that the word Sunday was not part of the original title. "I am fond of Early
Sunday Morning, too - but it wasn't necessarily Sunday. That word was tacked on by someone
else."
Although Hopper later stated that Early Sunday Morning " was almost a literal translation of
Seventh Avenue", his painting appears less a specific picture of New York and more an image of
America. Both the barber pole on the sidewalk and the white curtains in the second-floor
apartment connote the life-styles of small-time business people throughout the United States.
Originally Hoper had painted a person in the second floor window, but he later decided that the
architecture conveyed his feelings and consequently painted out this individual. Although one
cannot tell from the signs on the storefronts what kinds of business are represented except for
the barber shop, the sizes of the buildings suggest that they provided inexpensive goods and
services. During the Depression basic industries such as steel suffered, but small, service-
oriented businesses selling shoes, clothes, food, drugs, and gas stayed in business, and some
even prospered: gas stations, laundries, beauty parlors, and barber shops served a growing
clientele. The shops in Early Sunday Morning, which extend in a continuous line beyond the
confines of the picture and reinforce the horizontal format of the canvas, emphasize the
ubiquity of small-time businesses in the United States. On the upper-right corner of the picture,
the dark brown passage of paint suggests the side of a large building and indicates the possible
encroachment of the corporate world on this sunny block. Other shadows that are also cast
from the right subtly imply that the small-time shopkeeper, the Progressives' symbol of the
individual and the early nineteenth-century American ideal, is in conflict with larger, less clearly
defined forces. In this manner the painting continues the Progressive ideal and obliquely refers
As in The Long Leg, 1935, with its simplified forms modeled by a strong light, Edward Hopper's
realism was tempered by a modern sensibility. Hopper's compositions often have an air of
stillness and a pervading mood of solitude. That is as true for his evocative images of sailing--a
recurring theme in his work - as it is with his stark depictions of urban life. Here, the graceful
movement of the boat across the water expresses Hopper's attachment to the sea and his love
of sailing even as it contributes to the picture's quietude. Like many New York artists of his
generation, Hopper sought relief from summer in the city by going to the New England shore.
The cool tones and sense of peace in this work offer a respite from the heat and grime of New
York. The locale is Long Point Light at Provincetown, not far from the artist's summer home in
South Truro.

Hopper's seascapes fall into three main groups: pure landscapes of rocks, sea, and beach grass;
lighthouses and farmhouses; and sailboats. Sometimes he combined these elements. Most of
these paintings depict strong light and fair weather; he showed little interest in snow or rain
scenes, or in seasonal color changes. He painted the majority of the pure seascapes in the
period between 1916 and 1919 on Monhegan Island. Hopper's The Long Leg, 1935 is a nearly
all-blue sailing picture with the simplest of elements, while his Ground Swell, 1939 is more
complex and depicts a group of youngsters out for a sail, a theme reminiscent of iconic Breezing
Up, 1876 of Winslow Homer.
Ground Swell – 1939 – oil on canvas
Edward Hopper's lifelong enthusiasm for the sea developed when he was a boy in Nyack, New
York, then a prosperous Hudson River port with an active shipyard. Years later, in 1934, he and his
wife built a house and studio in South Truro, Massachusetts, where he produced a number of oil
paintings and watercolors manifesting his avid interest in nautical subjects. In this quiet and
voyeuristic view, the several figures aboard the boat are disengaged from each other. Their gazes
seem fixed on the bell buoy, and their resulting trancelike state is reinforced by the rolling waves
beneath them.

A ground swell is often caused by a far-off storm felt even under clear skies - causing a buoy to
ring even when there's no danger. The idea of threat in an idyllic setting has crucial precedents. In
a work painted around 1639 by French classicist Nicolas Poussin, shepherds come across a tomb
whose inscription -- "I too once lived in Arcadia" -- brings death into their idyll. Hopper's woman
and his three half-naked men echo Poussin's rapt figures.

Look longer, viewers will notice standard Hopper themes - mystery, loneliness, alienation.
Rooms by the Sea – 1951 – Oil on Canvas
Hopper first began painting the effects of sunlight as a young art student in Paris, and
this interest continued throughout his career. As a mature artist, he lived and worked
in New York City and spent most of his summers on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. He
designed and built a sunny, secluded studio at Truro on the bluff overlooking the
ocean. This painting is based on the view out the back door of the studio. Titled in his
record book "Rooms by the Sea. Alias The Jumping Off Place," Hopper noted that the
second title was perceived by some to have "malign overtones" and he thus deleted
it. While the view from the studio suggested the composition of Rooms by the Sea,
the image is more an evocative metaphor of silence and solitude than the
transcription of an actual scene.

Hopper had a way of communicating his inner life...feelings of despair and


desolation, as well as his sense of beauty...finding them in the buildings and objects
he painted. He filled empty rooms with the mystery of existence and his own spirit.
In essence, he, like Van Gogh, was painting not just the objects themselves, but
turning them literally into self-portraits.
Room in New York – 1940 – Oil on Canvas
Gas – 1941 – Oil on canvas
The highway apparently ends here, disappearing into the woods - not a promising location
for a gas station. The last car seems to have passed long ago; the attendant is shutting down
the pump, and soon will turn off the lights and lock up for the night.

Hopper's painting represents a borderline situation. It is set at the frontier between day and
night, between civilization and nature. The gas station has the appearance of a last outpost,
where the human realm gives way, across the road, to the anonymous realm of nature. the
edge of the woods rises like a dark wall in which no individual tree can be discerned. But our
eye returns again and again to its warm hue. The bright, almost pure white fluorescent light
in the gas station, in contrast, is almost painful to look at, and the eye shifts to the ribbon of
road leading out of the picture to the right.

Man in Hopper's work is a subordinate creature, a flea, a bit of living spark caught in the
innards of an architectural or industrial trap, much like Van Gogh's Weaver encased in their
looms.
Office at Night – 1940 – Oil on Canvas
The painting depicts an office, occupied by an attractive young woman in a short-sleeved blue
dress, who is standing at an open file cabinet, and a slightly older man who is perhaps in early
middle age. He is dressed in a three-piece suit and is seated behind a desk. The nature of the
office is unclear it could just as easily be the office of a lawyer, an accountant, or of a small
business.
Several clues provide context: The high angle from which the viewer looks down on the office
implies that the viewer may be looking in from a passing elevated train indeed, Hopper later
informed Norman A. Geske, the curator of the Walker Art Center, which acquired the painting in
1948, that the idea for the painting was "probably first suggested by many rides on the 'L' train in
New York City after dark glimpses of office interiors that were so fleeting as to leave fresh and
vivid impressions on my mind." So this is not a prestige office a fact that is reinforced by the
awkward lozenge shape of the room, and by the small size of the man's desk. A yet smaller desk,
holding a typewriter, may belong to the woman. This implies that she may be his secretary.

Hopper's inspiration to depict an office scene, a subject rarely portrayed in art, comes not only
from his experience illustrating office system and other magazines but also from such paintings as
The Cotton Exchange, New Oreleans and Sulking, both by Edgar Degas.

There is a sexual interpretation of the relationship between the two individuals. Here, as in a
number of Hopper's works, such as Evening Wind (1921) and Summertime (1943), the stirring of
curtains or blinds seems to symbolize emotional or physical stirrings. (By contrast, listless curtains
in other Hopper paintings like Eleven A.M. (1926) and Hotel by a Railroad (1952) seem to imply
emotional stagnation or an inability to connect.)
Approaching a city- 1946
In the rare cases when Edward Hopper depicts rails running into the picture, a sense
of threat accompanies them. In Approaching a City, 1946, Hopper couches this sense
in a compelling visual metaphor: a cavernous tunnel leading into the bowels of the
city. It opens out to receive the traveller like a dark maw from which there is no
escape.

But there are other situations in which darkness threatens someone on the move. It
stretches like an impenetrable wall in front of the woman sitting in a hotel foyer at
night, attempting to catch a glimpse of the dark street through the window. Her
glance is reflected, and all she can see beyond the black wall are phantoms. Nobody
is still out at this hour; the woman waits in vain.

Yet light can be even more merciless than darkness. When you consider the light in
Hopper's pictures - cold, bright, often glaring light: sunlight, electric light, fluorescent
light, light as if cast by spotlights - you realize that light can indeed be ruthless.
George Segal, the American sculptor, once quipped, "When you get to Hopper all of a
sudden you have to put on your sunglasses." Hopper's light can be blinding, but it has
no warmth. It can awaken the hope of a new life only to disappoint it a moment later
- think of the many female figures who bask in the sun, receptive and full of
expectation, but who are apparently
Summer Evening – 1947 – Edward Hopper
What distinction did Hopper draw between work and leisure? Comparing Office at
Night with Summer Evening, it would appear that he made little distinction at all. The
relationship between the two people in the office, implicit but quite obvious to the
viewer, corresponds to the explicit relationship of the couple on the lighted veranda.
The gaps in the curtains and the open window establish a visual link with the
woman's pose and attire, which, again, simultaneously conceal and reveal. And the
illumination, finally, transforms what is actually an intimate scene into a public one.
"To the extent, for instance, that a person feels he must protect himself from the
surveillance of others in the public realm by silent isolation, he compensates by
baring himself to those with whom he wants to make contact," writes Sennett. In
Hopper's eyes, the results were apparently just as unsatisfying during leisure time as
at work, and human relationships as desolate as most of the landscapes and
townscapes he depicted. And the later the date of the picture is, the more
depressing its mood seems to be.

Thanks to the lighting, the outside space of the veranda is transformed into an
intimate place. Factors familiar from other paintings play a role here as well - an
interplay between concealing and revealing, the emergence of sexual tension. The
curtains figure as a formal echo of the woman's attire.
Cape Cod Morning – 1950 – Oil on Canvas
When Hopper paints a house, a balcony, or an interior, he leaves no doubt as to the time of
day. We see morning sunlight slanting through a curtain, or the noontime glare, late
afternoon shadows, approaching dusk, or night, a tiny corner of a night in the big city,
illuminated by electric lamps, spotlights, neon signs. In every picture we know precisely
what time of day or night it is, and at the same time we sense that time is standing still, and
that nothing will change. We know that for the person standing at that window or seated at
that table, this is the one, inescapable reality, at once representing the universe and a tiny
slice of it.

Hopper gives us clues as to the nature of this existence, a thousand details presented with
the utmost clarity. And yet we sense that, ultimately, we can know absolutely nothing about
it. The only thing we can be certain of is our own ignorance.

In Cape Cod Morning, a woman looks out, tempted to the window by the morning sun,
narrowing her eyes against the bright light. It is a moment of boundless expectation. But it
has been depicted by a man who knew what afternoon and evening would bring, who knew
that expectations this great were bound to be disappointed. With the emptiness and
loneliness of the evening picture, which he painted first, Hopper anticipated the ultimate
meaning of human existence.
Morning Sun – 1952 – Oil on Canvas
Sunlight on Brownstones – 1956 – Oil on Canvas
Sun in an Empty Room – 1963 – Oil on Canvas
In his later paintings, Edward Hopper sought to express the experience of seeing and
perceiving the world by treating light in such a way that it almost becomes a material
object. His emphasis on light, the dissolution of material objects, and his ability to
visualize an internal reality received its ultimate expression in Sun in an Empty Room,
one of his last pictures.

Hopper had the rare gift of being able to perceive reality as a whole in the forms of
the outside world, of actually seeing the truth. In his intuitive perception the objects
of the world confronted him with a vitality of their own. Thus, it was not only
justifiable but also necessary for Hopper to hold to the empirical forms of the world.
They were his starting point, his goal, as well as the means of his art, the unique
qualities of which will continue to question any form of abstractionism.

In his mature works, Hopper moved from a relatively objective, almost impersonal
way of viewing the world, to a very emotional one. This emotionalism did not
manifest itself in his brushwork as it did, for example, in Vincent van Gogh. Hopper's
application of paint in his mature works became at times almost ascetic in its
thinness, while his drawing of forms was sharp and controlled.
People in the Sun, 1963 – Oil on Canvas

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