Friday, 14 December 2012

Edward Hopper artist appreciation

I find the art of Edward Hopper interesting and ahead of his time. Hopper's was rooted in the presentation of the familiar and concrete.

Born in 1889 in New York he broke through he struggled in the 1910's and his art observations of everyday life started to breakthrough in 1923.

Hopper's art can be seen in the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Whitney Museum of American Art,  and the Art Institute of Chicago.

Photographer Nicole Beland "On the way to the Subway with Edward Hopper. 

Hopper is famous for capturing the mood and feel of the mid-20th century in his paintings. From lonely diners and hotel rooms to houses on the shore, his paintings lend a vision of what life was like in those times.


In Hopper's most iconic painting, Nighthawks (1942) exhibited at the Art Institute in Chicago four customers and a waiter inhabit the brightly lit interior of a city diner at night. They appear lost in their own weariness and private concerns, their disconnection perhaps echoing the wartime anxiety felt by the nation as a whole. 

Hopper wrote in 1953 in the journal "Reality" 

"Great art is the outward expression of an inner life in the artist, and this inner life will result in his personal vision of the world. No amount of skillful invention can replace the essential element of imagination. One of the weaknesses of much abstract painting is the attempt to substitute the inventions of the human intellect for a private imaginative conception.
The inner life of a human being is a vast and varied realm and does not concern itself alone with stimulating arrangements of color, form and design.
The term life used in art is something not to be held in contempt, for it implies all of existence and the province of art is to react to it and not to shun it
Painting will have to deal more fully and less obliquely with life and nature's phenomena before it can again become great"

Gas 1940 
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.

Fascinated by Hopper was Alfred Hitchcock and staged many of his early films of Hopper's 1920's paintings notably this painting "Night Shadows" from 1921 pencil drawing. 

There's more than whiff of Hopper in TV's Mad Men Voyeurism, loneliness, isolation: these are themes that Hitchcock and Hopper share. Hopper’s style — using a still, often unpopulated scene to tell a story — matches Hitchcock’s approach as well. 

Hopper's work was showcased in several further retrospective exhibitions throughout his later career, particularly at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York; in 1952, he was chosen to represent the United States at the Venice Biennale. Despite commercial success and the awards he received in the 1940s and 1950s, Hopper found himself losing critical favor. His art continued to suggest that the individual could still suffer a powerful sense of isolation in postwar America. He 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.

Masato Jones 14 December 2012 

Edited February 21st 2015 to included the rightful owner of the photograph by Nicole Beland a tribute to Edward Hopper. Photographer is based in Quebec, Canada. 


  1. Thanks for your wonderful recommended. I saw at first !

  2. Hello,

    Could you give me the title of the second painting? The one on the subway platform. I've never seen it before and wonder if it's really a Hopper.

    1. Actually it's not a Hopper it's a photograph taken by this artist:
      I think you should precise it.

    2. Hi Candice I have just recently found out this wasn't Edward Hopper out this was a photographer Nicole Beland who at the time of writing I was unaware. Now the credit is there.

  3. Thank you Candice, I am the artist who took the photo of the man on the subway platform. My name is Nicole Beland and my website is I wish the owner of this blog would me the rightful credit under my image.

    1. This wasn't intentional Nicole at the time I wrote this I was writing after an Hopper exhibition as I was inspired, as an artist myself, I can understand not being credited and now I have edited it to credit you.