EDWARD HOPPER PAINTINGS FOR SALE & BIOGRAPHY
“Edward Hopper was an apprentice at the New York School of Art from 1900 to 1906; his teachers were William Merritt Chase (1849–1916), Kenneth Hayes Miller (1876–1952), and notably Robert Henri (1865–1929). The latter had a great formative influence on his art. He travelled to Europe and settled in Paris until 1907, developing his knowledge of Impressionism. He would have encountered the avant-garde artists of the time, such as Matisse (1869–1954) and Picasso (1881–1973). His stay in Paris was interspersed with short trips to London, Amsterdam—where he discovered Hals, Vermeer, and Rembrandt—Berlin, and Brussels. In 1910 he returned to Paris, and seized the opportunity to visit Madrid and Toledo.
“On returning to New York, Hopper earned his living as an illustrator in advertising and for magazines. But from 1912 onward he devoted himself to painting the architecture of New England during summers spent in Gloucester, though it was not until 1924 that he abandoned his work as a commercial illustrator to dedicate himself to painting.
“Like the majority of his American contemporaries, Hopper was a great admirer of Impressionism. Steeped in the art of Degas (1834–1917) and Vallotton (1865–1925), he executed several Pointillist works in Paris, but abandoned this style because he found it too French. From 1916 to 1918 he executed a series of very gestural oil paintings. He attracted critical attention during an exhibition in 1924. He then abandoned etching—a technique he had used from 1915, as it was particularly suitable for the play of light and shade he enjoyed producing—for watercolors (in works of minor importance) and oil painting. For a long time he had wanted to extricate himself from French painting, to ‘withdraw American art from its French mother’, but was unable to do this. When he understood, about 1925, that he could borrow its style while removing its themes and selecting a new world—the America of Faulker, Capra, Chandler, Goodis, or Hammett, 1920s America, somewhere between prohibition and unemployment—and he found his own style.
“From then on, Hopper travelled from east to west across the USA, as far as Mexico, in search of new and typically American subjects. Offices, façades, bars, petrol pumps, railroads, hotel bedrooms, and self-service places became engraved in his memory. This earned him the reputation of a ‘regionalist’, the movement that notably dominated the 1930s “as a reaction against the art being imported from Europe and seeking to bestow on America an art form all its own” (François Marc Gagnon and Hazan). His style, however, seemed unrelated to this.
“Isolated from the avant-garde artists of the time, Hopper devoted himself to landscapes, and more notably to cities, their single-story suburban houses and the provincial realities of American life, in paintings like Railroad Crossing (1922–1923), Lighthouse Hill (1927), Coast Guard Station (1927), and Railroad Sunset (1929). He attached great importance to architecture, notably to Victorian buildings and prefabricated bungalows lost in a wild and desolate environment, representative of an America about to disappear. But apart from this striking realism, he developed a pure style and profoundly original manner in treating banal subjects.
“In 1930 Hopper had said: ‘My aim in painting has always been the most exact transcription possible of my most intimate impressions of nature’, producing a universe that was so everyday that it became enigmatic. The special light that surrounds the dynamic forms that have been solidly constructed with huge monochrome panels of colors conveys a brooding sense of emptiness and solitude. Mankind occupies an essential place in his works from the end of the 1930s, though it seems to merge into the architecture, specifically because it shares some of the characteristics of this dehumanized environment. The astonishing contrasts of light, the play of diagonal and oblique lines, the unusual angles of view and zoom effects, which owed much to the cinema, highlight this ambient solitude. There is a lack of detail, embellishment, and action, only a chilly ascetic universe of fixed anonymous figures, who never look each other in the eye: office employees, a couple caught unawares in private through a window in a hotel bedroom, as if ‘stuck’ in a distorted space (Hotel by a Railroad), or a woman half-dressed on the doorstep at midday, looking into the distance (High Noon).
“Women occupy a primordial place in Hopper’s works (he used his wife Jo as his model, but was not interested in rendering a true likeness). They appear mysterious and sensual, and often provocative, seemingly waiting and looking straight ahead with a strained expression on their faces. But the real subject matter can be found in the strange light which surrounds every scene, as Hopper himself said: ‘What I am really trying to paint is the light of the sun on the façade of a house, and not the grimaces or gestures of people’. We learn nothing about the private life of this couple (Hotel by a Railroad). The woman in her slip is reading while her husband is smoking at the window. We learn nothing about the woman with white shoulders (Night Windows) surprised from behind one evening while alone and in the process of getting undressed. Metaphysical anguish is born from a seemingly randomly built set, or non-event. Like the figures in People in the Sun, spectators feel drawn to look beyond the painting itself.
“Edward Hopper has confused the critics more than any other artist. He was a scrupulous realist and some regarded him as the founder of Pop Art for the manner in which he handled everyday subjects. Yet he often incorporated an adherence to the followers of abstract art, such as De Kooning (1904–1962), Diebenkorn (1922–1993), and Rothko (1903–1970). He was committed to a realistic depiction of the urban landscapes of twentieth-century American life, yet was a figurative painter of abstract reality.
"After his death, his wife bequeathed all of Hopper’s works to the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. He was awarded a great many prizes and distinctions: in 1943, the medal and a tribute from the Logan Institute at the Art Institute of Chicago, and membership of the National Institute of Arts and Letters. The latter presented him with a gold medal for painting in 1955. The Huntingdon Hartford Foundation offered him a travelling scholarship to Pacific Palisades, where he spent six months” (Benezit, Dictionary of Artists, Gründ, 2006).
Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, MA
Akron Art Museum, Akron, OH
Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, TX
Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Brunswick, ME
Brauer Museum of Art, Valparaiso, IN
Canton Museum of Art, Canton, OH
Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA
Chazen Museum of Art, Madison, WI
Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati, OH
Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH
Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, OH
Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
Currier Gallery of Art, Manchester, NH
Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, TX
Dayton Art Institute, Dayton, OH
Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington, DE
Des Moines Art Center, Des Moines, IA
Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, NY
Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, MA
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.
Hunter Musuem of Art, Chattanooga, TN
Huntington Library, San Marino, CA
Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, IN
Johnson Museum of Art, Ithaca, NY
Maier Museum of Art, Lynchburg, Virginia
Meadows Museum, Dallas, TX
Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester, NY
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, St. Louis, MO
Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis, MN
Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Montgomery, AL
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
Muskegon Museum of Art, Muskegon, MI
National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C.
Newark Museum, Newark, NJ
Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase, NY
Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, FL
Oklahoma City Museum of Art, Oklahoma City, OK
Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA
Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.
Princeton University Art Museum, Princeton, NJ
San Diego Museum of Art, CA
Sheldon Museum of Art, Lincoln, NE
Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton, MA
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.
Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma, WA
Tate Gallery, London
Terra Foundation for American Art Collection, Chicago, IL
Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, Lugano
Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, OH
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA
Wadsworth Athenaeum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT
Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN
Westmoreland Museum of American Art, Greensburg, PA
Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown, MA
Wichita Art Museum, Wichita, KS
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY
Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT