Edward Hopper is a renowned American realist and urbanist of the 20th century. The work of Edward Hopper, who wrote 366 oil paintings in his biography, is called “the poetics of empty spaces”, and he himself is called “the poet of the era.” He often depicted empty streets, detached buildings and cityscapes in his paintings, as if deprived of life.
Edward Hopper invented his own genre in painting, called “house portrait”. Even if there are people in the picture, they seem to be self-absorbed extras. Almost all of his works are about loneliness. Another characteristic feature of the master’s paintings can be designated as suspense. Its streets and houses look frozen on the verge of some unpleasant events. Some see something Hitchcock’s in the artist’s masterpieces. And one of the most iconic directors of our time, master of allusions and lover of empty highways, who shot the mysterious “Twin Peaks” David Lynch (David Keith Lynch), admits that he adores Hopper’s work.
Edward Hopper was born into a merchant family on July 22, 1882. The port city of Nyack (Nyack) became the place of his birth. The future genius was brought up in strict Baptist traditions and from childhood close attention was paid to his education.
Interestingly, in high school, Edward dreamed of doing shipbuilding. His parents insisted that the young man devote his life to commercial painting.
In 1905, the painter got his first job – he became a designer of advertising covers. A year later, in 1906, Hopper began to travel, and his first destination was Paris. For three years he managed to visit not only France. In Europe, Edward carefully studied the work of other artists. European avant-gardism did not make a strong impression on the master. Only the masterpieces of the Impressionists aroused interest. But, according to Hopper, what impressed him most was Rembrandt’s Night Watch.
Having finally returned to his homeland in 1910, the artist began to look for his own style. In parallel, he had to work in advertising – painting did not bring significant money. For the same reason, the master took up etchings. It was they who brought Edward Hopper the first fame and decent earnings.
The artist works tirelessly until 1965, but the later years of his life are overshadowed by serious ailments. In 1966, Edward Hopper wrote his last masterpiece, Two Comedians. The great American painter died on May 15, 1967 in his studio. Ten months later, his wife Josephine followed her husband.
The most famous paintings by Edward Hopper
The master was not very prolific – during his long life he wrote less than four hundred works. Many of his works are now kept in the best American and European museums. Among the most famous paintings by Edward Hopper:
“Night owls” (1942) is the master’s most authoritative masterpiece. The painting depicts one of the city’s nightlife venues where you could have a coffee or even a snack. All the attributes of the painter’s style are present: an empty night street, dark windows of houses, figures of people frozen behind the counter. Interestingly, part of the masterpiece is due to the appearance of one of Hemingway’s stories – “The Assassins.”
“Automatic” (1927). In the picture we see a girl sitting at a cafe table. She seems infinitely lonely and lost. An interesting allegory: “automatic machines” in those days were called restaurants, where distribution took place automatically, with the help of mechanisms.
“Windows at night” (1928). The work is devoid of the usual geometry – the artist’s gaze seems to go past the frames and walls, finding itself right in the room and, at the same time, remaining outside in the position of a spy.
“New York Office” (1962). A woman reads a letter in front of a panoramic window, as if telling a story about the impossibility of retirement, the lack of personal space in a modern person. This is a world where everyone yearns for loneliness, but is forced to continue to live for show.
“Two Comedians” (1966). The last work of the master, which, presumably, depicts himself and his wife Josephine.