Saturday, January 28, 2012

Saturday Salon: A Favorite Painting or Two.....or Three!


New York Movie 1939

Sheridan Theater

Room in New York

Night Windows 1928

New York Office

Chop Suey

Couldn't find the title to this one.

Nighthawks 1942

Early Sunday Morning

Chair Car

Western Motel

Gas 1940

House By the Railroad

Rooms For Tourists 1945

Summer Evening

Cape Cod Morning 1950

The Long Leg

Blackhead, Monhegan

Road in Maine 1914

High Noon

Edward Hopper (1882 - 1967) was an American Realist painter born in Nyack, then a small town in a beautiful area near the Hudson River in upstate New York. He worked in oils, watercolor and was also expert in printmaking and etching. He was trained as an illustrator first, then studied at The New York School of Art under Ashcan School painter, Robert Henri. He also studied in Europe. To read much more about Hopper and his life and work, please use the link I've attached to his name.

Hopper is known for his night scenes, his studied used of light, his odd points of view, but most of all, I think for his natural ability to portray isolation and loneliness in a way that almost glorifies them. At least, to my eye.

Another aspect of his paintings which I find fascinating is the utter silence of his work, how his paintings capture a moment in time without movement of any sort. It's almost as if the figure or figures are trapped in amber. Even his scene of the sailboat in the water - The Long Leg - is a moment of absolute stillness.

In fact, the only painting above that shows me any motion at all, is the landscape Blackhead, Monhegan. Here the cliff and rocks and even the sea are absolutely churning.

To read even more and view some of Hopper's many paintings, please use this link.

"No artist has painted a more revealing portrait of twentieth-century America. But he was not merely an objective realist. His art was charged with strong personal emotion, with a deep attachment to our familiar everyday world, with all its ugliness, banality, and beauty."

Lloyd Goodrich

Edward Hopper - Self Portrait


  1. Hopper is one of my favorite artists. You got it exactly right when you mentioned the silence in his work. The quiet reminds me of the some of the surreal works of Rene Magritte: The absolute silence of the scene.

    Have you read Gail Levin's biography of Hopper? It's really more of a dual biography of Hopper and his wife Jo (who was Hopper's model and also an artist in her own right, although not of Hopper's caliber). It's a very good portrait of a marriage of artists--the good, the bad, and the ugly (Hopper would never let Jo drive their car, which was a bone of contention between them for the 40 years of their married life).

  2. Quiet and surreal. Exactly right, I think, Deb.

    I'm adding the book to my TBR list. Thanks for the tip.

  3. Yvette, I was thrilled to see that the star of today's Saturday Salon was one of my very favorite artists in all the world, fellow New Yorker Edward Hopper! I too love the way Hopper's paintings have a fascinating stillness even when there are people around. The people depicted in Hopper's paintings could be sitting in a setting alive with hustle and bustle, and yet the people being focused-on are clearly in their own little world, thinking their own little thoughts. Seeing people able to find their own quiet space in a crowd fascinates me.

    I also love the way Hopper's style can morph from the film noir look of NIGHTHAWKS or SUMMER EVENING to the quiet pastoral beauty of CAPE COD MORNING or ROOMS BY THE SEA.
    For what it's worth, SUMMER EVENING made me think of the scene in the movie NIAGARA where protagonists Polly and Ray Cutler (Jean Peters and Casey Adams) are in the motor court in the evening, enjoying the music and Cokes. Of course, in the painting, we don't see the next scene with Joseph Cotten literally breaking records, but the atmosphere of Hopper's painting always feels to me like there's another shoe somewhere reading to drop! :-)

    Yvette, it was such a pleasure to see all these stunning paintings here at " so many words"! Thank you so very much, my friend, for saluting my man Hopper -- you and he are both class acts! :-)

  4. I love Hopper's bright palette. It reminds me of van Gogh's use of color. I see geometry in his paintings -- lots of squares, rectangles and angles.

  5. I love the element of suspension and mystery that surrounds Hopper's paintings. They leave you with the question 'what happens next'? Lovely.

  6. Cape Cod Morning 1950 - now there's a window I'd love to be looking out of. I like the minute details in Hopper's paintings, like the part of lamp that's visible just behind the woman. It enhances the picture in so many ways. Every one of these paintings is vibrant and full of life without appearing to seem so. "A moment in time without movement of any sort." Yes, I see what you mean, Yvette.

  7. Dorian, you are so good for my ego. :)

    I'm glad you enjoyed my Hopper post. I've been meaning to include him at the Salon for awhile now. But your interest gave me the push I needed.

    More than any other American artist, I think, I see Hopper's paintings as trapped moments in time.

    'Waiting for the other shoe to drop' is a good way to put it.

    These would be great paintings to spur writers to create their own stories about the figures.

  8. Pat, you are so right about the geometry angle. I think it's a way maybe for Hopper to box in his characters in some way.

  9. Rosemay, I agree completely. Mystery is at the heart of Hopper's work. That gas station one is just asking for a story even though there are no figures there - that we can see.

  10. Prashant: It's that elemental stillness that makes Hopper's work so intriguing. These are frozen 'snapshots' in time. The figures are trapped in the canvas unable to reveal their stories.

    Hopper's use of atmosphere is just incredibly moving in some mysterious way.

    All my untutored opinion, you understand. :)

  11. I agree and love the quietness and peace of his work. When I go to our museum here in Wichita, I always end up admiring Sunlight on Brownstones.

  12. It's always so wonderful, Ryan, to see the work up close and personal.
    You can luxuriate in the brush strokes and the whole aura of being in the presence of genius.

    Not to mention, possible bits and parts of an artist's being.

    For instance in some of Van Gogh's paintings, they've found a hair or two. Can you imagine?

    But I digress...

  13. Beautiful use of light - yet another 'new' artist you've introduced me to, Yvette! :-)

  14. I'm thrilled to hear that, Sue. :)

  15. Another weekend art appreciation class in our educational series.

    Hopper is good! I first really noticed him with your post of women reading, with his subject reading in an isolated train car. I liked that.

    And seeing this, I like the paintings, the woman, the isolated buildings, the nature scenes. A lot of feeling in them. (And my question: How can those women be so thin as to fit in those clothes?)

    Anyway, enjoyable and a "teachable moment."

  16. "Sheridan Theatre" looks exactly like our old movie palace here in Indy, the Circle Theatre. I used to stand at the balcony just like that and watch everyone. I like this one the best. (I've been out sick for a while, but am returning a little at a time. Your blog is one I've missed a lot.)

  17. Kathy: Well, who knows if they really were that thin? The artist is allowed some leeway. :)

    At any rate, Hopper is someone whose work you should know so I'm glad I introduced him to you. :)

    There's such a profound silence in his work. He's really like no one else.

  18. Oh Becky I'm so sorry to hear that you've been sick. Healing quickly, I hope. :)

    Take care of yourself. Yes, I too remeber theaters like that one.

    In my case it was the Superior and/or the Tribune. If I'm remembering correctly. Though the only one as grand as this one was the Loew's Canal.

  19. I am late back here Yvette - but did you miss that old chap lurking behind the petrol pumps?

  20. Now that you mention it, Rosemary. How could I have missed him?


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