rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href=""/>

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Research - Edward Hopper

Fig. 1 House by the Railway (1925)

Edward Hopper was an American realist painter most popularly known for his use of oil paintings. Hopper paintings have two main sources that he was inspired by one being the common features of American life (gas stations, hotels, restaurants, theaters, railroads, and street scenes) secondly seascapes and rural landscapes. Hopper liked to paint the public places where people have gathered and passed through. In both his urban and rural paintings reflected his personal vision of what modern American life was to him.

Hopper uses effective light and shadows in his paintings as a method to portray a mood within his painting. The use of bright sunlight and the shadows it casts play a role in Hoppers paintings. The effects the light and shadow have on his paintings have been compared to the cinematography of films.

Fig. 2 The Office at Night (1940)

In this paintings Hopper has create a psychological puzzle for someone looking at this painting. The painting shows a man focusing on his work papers, while nearby his female secretary pulls a file while looking at a piece of paper on the floor. There is something very vague about this painting it can be interpreted in more than one way. Hopper presents the viewer with the possibilities that the man is either truly uninterested in the woman's appeal. Secondly it can be interpreted as that he is working hard to ignore her. So it can be said that this painting has a feeling of ambiguity which is something that can not be identified or has a unclear meaning behind it.

Fig. 3 Nighthawks (1942)

Nighthawks is Hopper’s best know painting. It shows customers sitting at the counter of an all night diner. The viewpoint is cinematic looking as if the viewer were approaching the restaurant from the sidewalk. The diner's harsh electric light sets it apart from the dark night outside enhancing the mood. "Paintings such as Nighthawks (Art Institute of Chicago, 1942) convey a mood of loneliness and desolation by their emptiness or by the presence of anonymous, non-communicating figures.” (Pioch, 2002)

Hopper's art work has a theme that runs through it that has been interesting to many contemporary painters, photographers and you could even go to say film directors  “Photographers and film-makers have engaged with a duality that is at the heart of Edward opper’s art – he makes it a both very beautiful and sad world. I think that duality is the key aspect of his work, and why so many have been affected by it.” (Crewdson, 2002)

List of Illustrations 
Figure 1. Edward Hopper (1925) House by the Railway. (Accessed on 02/12/2010)
Figure 2. Edward Hopper (1940) The Office at Night. (Accessed on 02/12/2010)
Figure 3. Edward Hopper (1942) Nighthawks. (Accessed on 02/12/2010)

Pioch, Nicolas (2002) Hopper, Edward. (Accessed on 02/12/2010)
Crewdson, Gregory (2002) Gregory Crewdson on  Edward Hopper. (Accessed on 02/12/2010)

No comments:

Post a Comment