January 22, 2008

Edward Hopper

Self-Portrait (1925-30)

From the Wikipedia entry:

Edward Hopper (July 22, 1882 – May 15, 1967) was an American painter and printmaker. While most popularly known for his oil paintings, he was equally proficient as a watercolorist and printmaker in etching. Born in upper Nyack, New York to a prosperous dry-goods merchant, Hopper studied illustration and painting in New York City at the New York Institute of Art and Design.

Summer Interior (1909)

Hopper made four trips to Europe to study the emerging art scene there, but unlike many of his contemporaries who imitated the abstract cubist experiments, the idealism and detail of the realist painters resonated with Hopper. His early projects reflect the realist influence with an emphasis on color and shape. Eschewing the usual New England subjects of seascapes or boats, Hopper was attracted to Victorian architecture, although it was no longer in fashion. According to Boston Museum of Fine Arts curator Carol Troyen, "He really liked the way these houses with their turrets and towers and porches and mansard roofs and ornament cast wonderful shadows. He always said that his favorite thing was painting sunlight on the side of a house."

A nice mix of Hopper's work to the tune of Glenn Miller's "Tuxedo Junction"

While he worked for several years as a commercial artist, Hopper continued painting with moderate success yet not as much as he yearned for. He sold a variety of small prints and watercolors to tourists and minor publication yet received only a casual if warm response from curators and gallery owners.

The Mansard Roof (1923)

According to Troyen, Hopper's "breakthrough work" was The Mansard Roof, painted in 1923 during Hopper's first summer in Gloucester, MA. His former art school classmate and later wife, Josephine Nivison Hopper, suggested he enter it in the Brooklyn Museum annual watercolor show, along with some other paintings. The Mansard Roof was purchased by the museum for its permanent collection, for the sum of $100.

House by the Railroad (1925)

In 1925 he produced House by the Railroad, a classic work that marks his artistic maturity. The piece is the first of a series of stark urban and rural scenes that uses sharp lines and large shapes, played upon by unusual lighting to capture the lonely mood of his subjects. He derived his subject matter from the common features of American life — gas stations, motels, the railroad, or an empty street — and its inhabitants.

The Sheridan Theatre (1928)

The Night Window (1928)

Another fantastic video, this one with photographs of Hopper at work, with Benny Goodman swing accompaniment.
Photo from this site, which has a fairly complete, alphabetically ordered list (with copies) of his work.


Kenna said...

Chris, beautiful post!! Thanks for this, you've turned me on to something new. just beautiful.

Chris said...

Thanks, kenna! Surely you've seen Hopper's work before (hasn't everyone at least seen Nighthawks?).

It's awesome that this led your discovery! Hopper is so great - he's one of my favorite painters, without a doubt.

Kenna said...

You're right, I have seen Nighthawks, I didn't know the artist. I have a collection of Nagels and I love Icart. I appreciate lots of art without actually knowing who's responsible for it. Bad Kenna! BTW, you really should make the drive to Waco soon, Steve McCurry is on exhibit and it's free!

Chris said...

Well there you go, I've never heard of Nagels (the Yugoslavian cartoonist?). Icart is nice. I love anything Art Deco.

Have you been to the McCurry exhibit? Looks like it has been at Art Center Waco for a while. I appreciate the heads up! Currently, it's a toss-up between Zwolle, Louisiana, and Waco as far as planned roadtrips go. Looks like this might tip the balance!

Kenna said...

Hey Chris, if you like Art Deco then you would like Patrick Nagel, you'll recognize his work. Specifically the cover art for Duran Duran's Rio. He also illustrated for Playboy during the 80's. Very graphic, very beautiful work. I have been to the McCurry exhibit, the Art Center is rather small so, it's limited but it's well worth the trip. You've got until the end of March. There's a lot to see in Waco so, you may want to get a room and stay a couple of days.

Chris said...

Thanks for the advice, kenna! I appreciate it. I also wanted to visit that Dr. Pepper museum, so I had been thinking I might need to spend at least a day and a night.