Edward Hopper Biography | Oil Paintings
7-22-1882 Nyack, USA - 5-15-1967 New York, USABack to Artist IndexView Artists Paintings
Edward Hopper studied in New York City under Robert Henri between 1900 and 1906 and then traveled to Europe over the four ensuing years, completing his figurative studies without, however, establishing any contact with the avant-garde movements The artistic atmosphere in Paris in 1909-10 had a major impact on him and his paintings up to the mid 1920s reflect the influence of the French Impressionists.
On his return to New York, he devoted himself to engraving and as an illustrator, but only between 1924 and 1927 he painted watercolors and oils. He concentrated on large scale works which drew upon contemporary American life for their inspiration, from gas stations and diners to hotel lobbies and late night bars. There is always a lonely, remote atmosphere that pervades many of his landscapes and paintings with people, generally anonymous views, not linked to any precise geographic location.
Hopper The "Classic" Master of American Realism.
He was an instant success and became the foremost American painter between the Great Depression and the New Deal. The distant horizons of his landscapes, the ordinariness of the offices and hotel rooms, and the alienation of the city at night are all depicted with a still, graphic clarity while maintaining a sense of elusiveness. Hopper was also a master of composition who calculated the geometry of his scenes, spaces between figures, and angles of light, exploiting these elements as a means of conveying intensely poetic moments.
This emphasis on scenes which were instantly recognizable, coupled with the strong interplay of light and shadow, left an indelible impression, so much so that Hopper's art has come to represent urban America of the interwar years and had a major impact on the Pop Art of more recent years.
The disenchantment and solitude created by the spaces, light, and silences of provincial America imbue Hopper's canvases with an evocative power that seems to anticipate cinematic scenarios, situations, and characters.
Hopper was attracted to hotel rooms, where faces, presences, and emotions are constantly changing. One immediately feels the contrast between the functional, monotonous, and utterly impersonal setting, and the woman who brings it temporarily to life. Hopper contrasts the “nameless environment with the unopened suitcases that bear the owner's name tag. This painting The Lighthouse At Two Lights reveals the European influences, silent, still Metaphysical Painting and German Realism on which Hopper based his own unique interpretation of the world.
His artwork is disenchantment and solitude created by spaces, light, and silences that imbue his canvases with an evocative power that seems to anticipate cinematic scenarios, situations, and characters. Hopper was a master of composition, often bringing to life, functional, monotonous and utterly impersonal settings into a poetic moment, often leaving the viewer to invent a story line. Nighthawks, is perhaps the most famous of Hopper's extraordinary images of urban isolation, the restaurant depicted was inspired by one in Greenwich Village. The location of Nighthawks has finally been found, see our Then and Now section for photo and painting comparisons. Clearly inspired by cinema in his use of lighting and the particular angle he has chosen, Hopper evokes a situation reminiscent of Hemingway's short stories. He does not give us a plot, however, but rather captures a single frame, an isolated scene, that leaves the viewer to invent a story line.
Hotel Window was sold in 1957 for $7,000 (equivalent to US$61,000 in 2017). In 1999, it was sold to actor Steve Martin for about $10.0 million and in 2006, Martin sold it for US$26.89 million an auction in New York. In December of 2013, the 1934 East Wind Over Weehawken painting sold for US$40.5 million at an auction. The location of East Wind Over Weehawken can be seen in our Then and Now section for painting and photo location comparisons.
The very interesting THEN & NOW photo section. See, the present day location that inspired the famous artist Edward Hopper. We travel the world to find the exact location where the artist set up his easel to paint. We photograph it as it appears today. Now, you can compare side by side photos of the original oil painting and the present-day location.
Artist's Biography compiled by Albert L. Mansour at The World's Artist.