Edward Hopper (July 22nd 1882 - May 15th 1967) is a realistic painter and American engraver, which exerted primarily its art with New York, where it had his workshop. He is regarded as one of the representatives of the naturalism or the American Scène, because he painted the daily life of the middle-classes. At the beginning of its career, it represented scenes Paris iennes before being devoted to the American landscapes and becoming a witness attentive of the social changes with the the United States. It produced many oils on fabric, but also worked on Affiche S, Gravure S in Eau-forte and Aquarelle S. Most of the work of Hopper expresses the nostalgia of America passed, as well as the conflict between nature and modern world. Its characters are generally esseulés and melancholic persons.
Formation and voyages in EuropeEdward Hopper was born with Nyack, in the State of New York within a family of tradesmen who sold articles of Mercerie. It accepted an education Baptist and attended a private school, then the college of its birthplace. It settled then with New York, where it was formed with the trade of Illustrateur in the New York School off Illustrating . It entered to the New York School off Art in 1900. There, it had as comrades George Bellows, Guy Pène of Wood, Patrick Henry Bruce, Walter Pach, Rockwell Kent and Norman Raeben of which some were compared to the Ash Can School. Among its professors, Robert Henri (1865-1929) taught to him to represent realistic scenes of the urban life.
In order to supplement her formation, Edward Hopper made three stays in Paris, between 1906 and 1910. He visited several countries of Europe: the Netherlands (Amsterdam and Haarlem), the the United Kingdom (London), the Spain (Madrid, Tolède), the Germany (Berlin) and the Belgium (Brussels). He familiarized himself with works of the large Masters of the Old continent and produced about thirty works, primarily on Paris. It is also in this city that it côtoya of other young American artists and was interested in photography with Eugene Atget. There fell under the charm from the French Culture and remained francophile throughout its life: returned in the United States, it continued to read French works and to write in this language. It was able to recite Verlaine.
First exposuresIn 1908, it settled definitively in New York where it worked as advertizing draftsman then like Illustrateur, a trade which it did not appreciate. At that time it painted only seldom, most of the time in summer. It took part in several collective exposures to New York: in 1908 with the Harmony Club and 1912 in Mac Dowell Club. The following year, it sold its first work and is established in a studio on Washington Square in the district of Greenwich Village. In 1915, it carried out its first etchings and was made known by the art critics in an exposure to Mac Dowell Club. But it is in the Entre-deux-guerres that it started to be really recognized, with its first personal exposure to Whitney Studio Club (1920). In 1924, it Maria with Josephine Verstille Nivison. Called “OJ” by her husband, it had followed like him them course of Robert Henri and had become painter. In 1933, the couple bought a property with the Cape Cod where it built a house and installed a workshop.
DedicationIn 1925, Edward Hopper completed her famous Maison at the edge of the railway ( The House by the Railroad ), which is regarded as one of its best tables. Work entered off the collections of the Museum Modern Art since 1930, thanks to a gift of the millionaire Stephen Clark. The same year, the Whitney Museum off American Art acquires table Tôt a Sunday morning ( Early Sunday Morning ) for an important sum.
1933 are marked by the first retrospective of the work of Hopper to the Museum off Modern Art of New York. In 1939, the painter belonged to the jury of the Carnegie Institute , before being elected member of the National Institute off Arts and Letters in 1945. In 1952, it exposed to the Biennale de Venise at the sides of two other fellow-citizens. The following year, it accepted the title of “ Doctor off Fine Arts ” of the Art Institute off Chicago.
Hopper died the May 15th 1967, in its workshop close to Washington Square, with New York. His wife, the painter Josephine Nivison, who died ten months later, bequeathed her work to Whitney Museum off American Article Of other important works are with the MoMA New York and with the Art Institute of Chicago.
Characteristics and evolution of a styleThe first tables of Edward Hopper represent sights of Paris, in particular of the the Seine and Louvre ( the Bridge of Arts , 1907; Afternoon of June, 1907; Louvre during a storm , 1909; the House of Flora , 1909, etc). This Parisian period, which corresponds to the stays of the artist in the French capital (1906-1910), continues whereas it returned definitively to the United States ( blue Soir , his larger fabric, 1914; Parisian caricatures in the years 1920). Hopper is indeed marked by the landscapes and the painting of the Old continent so much so that he will say later: All appeared to me atrociously believed and coarse on my America return. It took me years to recover from Europe.
In Paris, he visits the museums and the exposures; it is interested in the impressionist (via Patrick Henry Bruce) and in the fawn-coloured contemporary but also in the Dutch Masters (Vermeer, Rembrandt): at the time of its voyage to the Netherlands, it in particular is very impressed by the Night round of Rembrandt. Its stay in France does nothing but confirm its admiration for Edgar Degas. However, Hopper does not follow its contemporaries in their experiments cubists and prefers the idealism of the realistic artists (Gustave Courbet, Honore Daumier, Jean-François Millet), whose influence is perceptible in its first works. For example, the House of Flora (1909, Whitney Museum off American Art, New York), poses some principles which one will be able to find in all his work: a composition based on some simple geometrical forms, of broad flat tints of color, and the use of architectural elements of which the verticals, horizontal and diagonal strong will structure the table.
After her return in America, Edward Hopper produces etchings (1915-1923), Affiche S, Gravure S (until 1928) as well as Aquarelle S, under the impulse of his wife. It gives up the Parisian topics gradually to be devoted to the American landscapes and the houses of the New England. In the Years 1920, it affirms a personal style by painting sights with the dark, brown and distinct colors ( The City , 1927, Fenêtres, the night , 1928; Early a Sunday morning , 1930). It moves away thus from the Impressionnisme to privilege the large with-dishes of colors and contrasts. The portraits are then very few, with share a self-portrait (1925-1930) and sketches representing his wife Josephine, the human presence are reduced to nothing.
The human figures reappear at the end of the years 1920: Chop Suey , 1929, Tables for ladies (1930) and Hotel room (1931) represents women. The characters spread as from 1938 to become true actors of tables ( Compartiment C, car 193 , 1938; Evening with the course Cod , 1939; Night birds , 1942, etc).
In the years 1950-1965, the painter gives to the individuals more psychological depth and the met in scene in their relations with the others ( Soir of summer , 1947; Four-lane road , 1956). One then attends the progressive stressing of the border between interior space and external space, separated by strong lines. Lastly, the fabrics represent parts are purified more and more, emptied of any furniture: in Rooms at the edge of the sea (1951), the pieces of furniture are hidden by a wall. In Sun of the morning (1952), the only object of the room is the bed. However, it is the period during which Hopper rejects the abstract painting which is an increasing success in America. Its works seem rebuildings, recombinings of memories or many settings in scene of the painter, more than one faithful representation of a reality. The effects Fantastique S are created by the prospect in Chambres at the edge of the sea (1951), with the manner of Rene Magritte.
Rural landscapesEdward Hopper chooses rural landscapes mainly located in the North-East of the United States: its places of predilection are the Cape Cod, where it has its property of summer, and generally the New England of which it paints the Phare S ( the headlight of Squam , 1912; Hill with headlight , 1927, the headlight with two glares , 1929). During his life, the artist travels to the Canada (1923), through the United States (1925-1927, 1941 in the West), with the Mexico (1943, 1946,1951,1952), but there remains attached to the landscapes of the Atlantic littoral.
The spectator is struck by the absence of human beings in these landscapes which like are deserted, but crossed by a road ( Route in Maine , 1914) or a railway ( Crossing level , 1922-1923; Sunset on railway , 1929). These lines evoke the voyage, the time which passes or mark a separation between Civilization and Nature.
StructureHopper was impassioned of architecture and carried out many sketches of buildings when it was in Paris. In the years 1920, it was made known by its watercolours appearing of beautiful mansard-roofed houses of the 19th century. These masonries are the symbols of a completed past, threatened or encircled by an alarming nature. In other cases, it is the house itself which seems alarming: in 1925, Hoper painted House by the Railroad , which marks the beginning of its artistic maturity. It is the first of a series of scenes urban and rural combining fine and broad lines, bathed of a raw light and without concession, in which the human figures, isolated, seem to be taken with the trap.
The fabrics of Edward Hopper take for subject the buildings and the houses at various times of the day, thus taking again the impressionist heritage: its preferred moments are the morning ( Tôt a Sunday morning , 1930; Sun of the morning , 1952) and the evening ( Evening with the course cod , 1939; Sunset on railway , 1929), when the shades lengthen and underline contrasts. The night scenes are also numerous ( Noctambules , 1942; Room for tourists , 1945; night Conference , 1949).
Urban landscapesUrban landscapes that Edward Hopper affectionate are those of New York, because it is there that he studied and that he has his workshop ( Restaurant in New York , 1922; Gantries in Manhattan , 1928). But it also appears of the medium-sized cities or small ( American Village , 1912; Office in a small town, 1953). Its tables illustrate all the functions of the modern city: leisure, crossing point (hotel, railways, streets) ( Restaurant in New York , 1922; The Circle Theater , 1936; Cinema in New York , 1939), of work ( night Conference , 1949), of trade ( Pharmacy , 1927) or of meeting ( Chop Suey , 1929; Night birds , 1942). These works testify to modern America as from the years 1930 and to a tertiary economy: none of its tables takes the factories like subject.
Hopper approaches one of its American contemporaries, Norman Rockwell. But, while Rockwell glorifie the imagery of the American small towns, Hopper depicts there same loneliness as in its urban scenes.
The painter of the american companyWorks of Edward Hopper are the reflection of the daily life of the Americans, the American way off life , which shows through in realistic details: advertizing signs ( Chop Suey , 1929), urban furniture (stops with fire in Tôt a Sunday morning , 1930). The service stations, Motel S, railways, streets deserted recreate an American typical environment. In Night birds (1942, Art Institute off Chicago), his most known work, esseulés customers sat with the counter of a to dine whose Néon S contrast brutally with surrounding darkness.
The fabrics of Hopper testify to a company in full change: they depict primarily the framework of life and the existence of the middle-classes, in full rise in first half of the 20th century. Gasoline (1940) and Motel in the West (1957) subtly shows the birth of a company of the car. The roads, the railways and the bridges are other signs of modernity, voyage and control of the American territory. The farm given up on Barn of Cobb, South Truro , 1930-1933, offers a vision of the effects the Grande Depression. Hoper shows us the loneliness in the big cities and of the characters who seem to regret certain America which is disappearing.
Certain works indirectly evoke the Women's Liberation, in progress since the end of the First World War: Chop Suey (1929) watch of the exaggeratedly fardées women. The dresses become short, the light toilets ( Matin in South Carolina , 1955; Summer , 1943). The woman émancipe but Hopper represents it often esseulée, still fragile ( a woman with the sun , 1961).
Hoper also covers the subject of naked female ( Eleven AM , 1926; a woman with the sun , 1961) and erotism ( Midday , 1945) or voyeurism ( Windows the night , 1928; Morning in a big city, 1944; Sun of the morning , 1952).
The ratios man/woman are finally represented: in Hall of hotel (1943), an old couple is found, whereas an young girl is reading on the line. In Hotel close to a railway (1952), the man looks by the window by smoking a cigarette, whereas his wife reads without him to pay attention. In Evening with the course Cod (1939), it is a young couple which discusses in a Loggia. In Sun in a cafeteria , a man looks at an young girl and surely prepares to approach it. Lastly, on Four-lane road (1956), the woman seems to dispute her husband who remains impassive.
The painter of loneliness, alienation and the melancholyHopper appears of the anonymous characters and archetypal, whose face does not betray any emotion, like if the decoration or the situation did it for them. However, from its fabrics various impressions emerge: silence, the tension, exclusion, the Melancholy. Deserted streets, parts with exaggerated dimensions emphasize the characters and suggest an effect of Aliénation. The reading is drawn like alternative to their loneliness: Hotel room (1931) or Compartment C, car 193 (1938) is only some examples. These characters seem also on standby: in Be (1943), an young girl is held upright on the step of a door, the hand against a Colonne. She seems to wait until somebody comes to seek it. The scene is motionless, the only movement is returned by the air which makes inflate the curtains at the ground floor of the building.
The border between interior space and external space is materialized by a window, a door or a contrast of light. In Room for tourists (1945), the enlightened parts of the house are opposed outside sinks. The entry of the air or the light inside a part symbolizes an introspection.
Inspirations and radiation
The painting of Edward Hopper draws her inspiration in works of the 17th century (Vélasquez, Rembrandt, Vermeer), but also among the Masters of the 19th century: Goya, Daumier and Manet. The American artist appreciated particularly the production of Edgar Degas, in particular in returned space and the use of oblique lines in the composition. Hopper was interested in the poems of Ralph Waldo Emerson like with the theories of Carl Gustav Jung and Sigmund Freud. Its paintings often were compared with the realistic parts Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906).
Edward Hopper liked to go to the cinema and the cinema exerted a certain influence on its work. The painting of Hopper has moreover a “eminently photographic character. ” Sights in height ( Office in a small town, 1953), in Plunged ( American Village , 1912; the City, 1927) or in Low-angle shot ( House at the edge of the railway , 1925; Two Actors , 1965) testify some, just as framings, the effects of lighting and the setting in scene of its tables.
The fabrics of Edward Hopper were a source of inspiration for the scenario writers: Alfred Hitchcock used the house close to the railway (1925) as model for the residence of Psychose (1960). The scene of table Fenêtres the night (1928) strongly evokes the film Fenêtre on court (1954).
Other realizers paid homage to the fabrics of Hopper: George Stevens ( Giant , 1956), Terrence Malick, Sam Mendes, Wim Wenders ( Paris, Texas , 1984; end of violence , 1997), Tim Burton ( Sleepy Hollow , 1999), Alan Rudolph ( Choose me , 1984), Peter Greenaway ( the Cook… , 1989), Warren Beatty ( Dick Tracy , 1990), the Brothers Coen ( Barton Fink , 1991) or Woody Allen ( Agreements and dissensions , 1999). The preferred painters of the realizer David Lynch are Jackson Pollock, Francis Bacon and Edward Hopper.
List works of Edward Hopper
Principal tables of Edward Hopper (oils on fabric):
- 1919 : first price of the national competition of the United States Shipping Board Emergency Fleet for a poster.
- 1923: Logen Prize by the Chicago Society off Etchers
- 1955: gold medal for the painting of the National Institute off Arts and Letters
- 1960: distinction of the Art in America
ExposuresExcept contrary precision, they take place in the town of New York
- 1908: collective exposure to the Harmony Club
- 1912: collective exposure to the Mac Dowell Club
- 1915: collective exposure to the Mac Dowell Club
- 1920: first individual exposure of oils on fabric of Paris to the Whitney Studio Club .
- 1922: exposure of Caricature S to the Studio Club .
- 1924: exposure of the whole of these Watercolour S to the Frank K. Rehn Gallery .
- 1926: exposure of watercolours to the Boston Art Club (Boston).
- 1927: exposure of oils on fabric, watercolours and printing works again in Rehn Gallery.
- 1928: exposure of watercolours to the Morgan Memorial to Hatford in the Connecticut.
- 1929: new exposure to Frank K. Mr. Rehn Gallery.
- 1933: first retrospective with the Museum off Modern Art.
- 1934: exposure to the Arts Club of Chicago.
- 1950: retrospective in Whitney Museum off American Art; it is then presented to the Musée of the Art schools of Boston and to the Detroit Institute off Arts.
- 1959: exposure to the Currier Gallery off Art , Manchester (New Hampshire), taken again by the Rhode Island School off Design (Providence)
- 1964: retrospective with the Whitney Museum off American Art, presented then to Art Institute of Chicago
- 1989: exposure to Marseilles (Museum Cantini).
In 2004, a choice of tables of Hopper was presented in Europe, in particular with Cologne and the Tate Modern of London, where the exposure obtained the second record of multitude of the history of this museum, with: 420000 visitors in three months. Simultaneously with this exposure, the museum of American art of Giverny had organized an exposure gathering of the tables of its first period, under the title " The Parisian years 1906-1910" who, although being able to be connected with early works, showed already the control of the light which would be the trademark of Hopper in its best fabrics.
From May 6th to August 19th, 2007, the Museum of Beautiful arts of Boston organized an exposure on works of the period 1925-1950: fifty paintings on oil, thirty watercolours and 12 engravings were presented to the public.
SourcesThis article was written starting from the following works:
- Daniel Royot, Le Bourget Jean-Wolf, Jean-Pierre Martin, History of the American culture , Paris, P.U.F., 1 edition, 1993,
- Rolf Günter Renner, Edward Hopper , Cologne, Collective Taschen, 2001,
- , Edward Hopper , work carried out at the time of the exposure “Edward Hopper”, June 23rd/September 24th, 1989, Cantini Museum, Marseilles, editions Adam Biro, Paris,
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