"I don't think I ever tried to paint the American scene; I'm trying to paint myself."

***

Hopper, Edward (1882-1967) was an American painter, active mainly in New York. He trained under Robert Henri, 1900-06, and between 1906 and 1910 made three trips to Europe, though these had little influence on his style. Hopper exhibited at the Armoury Show in 1913, but from then until 1923 he abandoned painting, earning his living by commercial illustration. Thereafter, however, he gained widespread recognition as a central exponent of American Scene painting, expressing the loneliness, vacuity, and stagnation of town life. Yet Hopper remained always an individualist.

  Paintings such as "Nighthawks" convey a mood of loneliness and desolation by their emptiness or by the presence of anonymous, non-communicating figures. But of this picture Hopper said: 'I didn't see it as particularly lonely... Unconsciously, probably, I was painting the loneliness of a large city'. Deliberately so or not, in his still, reserved, and blandly handled paintings, Hopper often exerts a powerful psychological impact.

Edward Hopper painted American landscapes and cityscapes with a disturbing truth, expressing the world around him as a chilling, alienating, and often vacuous place. Everybody in a Hopper picture appears terribly alone. Hopper soon gained a widespread reputation as the artist who gave visual form to the loneliness and boredom of life in the big city. This was something new in art, perhaps an expression of the sense of human hopelessness that characterized the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Edward Hopper has something of the lonely gravity peculiar to Thomas Eakins, a courageous fidelity to life as he feels it to be. He also shares Winslow Homer's power to recall the feel of things.


 

"Light at Two Lights" (1927) Watercolor on paper, 35.6 x 50.8 cm - 14 x 20 in. Collection of Blount, Inc., Montgomery, Alabama, USA.

"Hotel Room" (1931) Oil on canvas, 152.4 x 165.1 cm - 60 x 65 in. Thyssen-Bornemisza collection, Madrid, Spain.

"Nighthawks" (1942) Oil on canvas, 76.2 x 152.4 cm - 30 x 60 in. The Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois, USA.

"House by the Railroad" (1925) Oil on canvas, 73.7 x 61 cm - 29 x 24 in. The Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA.

"Room in Brooklyn" (1932) Oil on canvas. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

"Western Motel" (1957) Oil on canvas. Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut, USA.

"Sunday" (1926) Oil on canvas, 86.36 x 73.66 cm - 34 x 29 in. Private collection.

"Conference At Night" (circa 1949) Oil on canvas, 101.6 x 70.48 cm - 40 x 27.7 in. Private collection.

"Ground Swell" (1939) Oil on canvas. Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington DC, USA.

"The Long Leg" (1935) Oil on canvas, 76.8 x 50.8 cm - 30.24 x 20 in. Private collection.

"Sheridan Theatre" (1937) Oil on canvas, 64.13 x 43.56 cm - 25.2 x 17.15 in. Private collection.

"Bridle Path" (1939) Oil on canvas, 107 x 72 cm - 42.1 x 28.35 in. Private collection.


Text source: 'Webmuseum' (www.ibiblio.org/wm).

Related Artists:

Related Terms: Realism, Illustration Art.

 

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