It seems like a good idea to start doing the Influencing Me posts again. It is great to be showing the work of artists that I really admire. Since I had to delete them from my other page, it is a good opportunity to review ones I’ve done previously again. I won’t be doing it each week, but intermittently when I find an artist whose work I want to show. So shall we look at Edward Hopper?
Influencing Me: Edward Hopper
Today we are going to look at the work of Edward Hopper.
Here is some information from Wikipedia about him.
Edward Hopper (July 22, 1882 – May 15, 1967) was a prominent American realist painter and printmaker. While he was most popularly known for his oil paintings, he was equally proficient as a watercolorist and printmaker in etching. Both in his urban and rural scenes, his spare and finely calculated renderings reflected his personal vision of modern American life.
I was first introduced to his work by a lecturer when I was doing my fine art degree. He thought I would really enjoy his work, and he wasn’t wrong.
This is probably one of his most famous images, and one of my favourites, “NIghthawks”.
There is a silence in the images, yet there are people in them. It is strange as you don’t normally think of that when you see photos with people in it. Though, when you look at those people you have to wonder if they are happy. Not many do. It could be said the images are almost depressing. Perhaps the colour palette makes up for it.
I think what really attracts me is the sense of drama in them. The way he shows a scene, like a slice of life. They could be movie stills. You can imagine what the drama is in each one. Work out your own story line, as each one does appear to have a story.
He uses very bright colours, but they are also muted. It is almost like he desaturates his paintings. His palette is often fall of warm colours which makes them inviting to look at. Red seems to be a dominate colour. When I was at Uni a guy there used to say if you put red in an image it will sell. Perhaps Hopper knew that as well.
Hopper on his paintings
This is also from Wikipedia:
Always reluctant to discuss himself and his art, Hopper simply said, “The whole answer is there on the canvas.” Hopper was stoic and fatalistic—a quiet introverted man with a gentle sense of humor and a frank manner. Hopper was someone drawn to an emblematic, anti-narrative symbolism, who “painted short isolated moments of configuration, saturated with suggestion”. His silent spaces and uneasy encounters “touch us where we are most vulnerable”, and have “a suggestion of melancholy, that melancholy being enacted”. His sense of color revealed him as a pure painter as he “turned the Puritan into the purist, in his quiet canvasses where blemishes and blessings balance”. According to critic Lloyd Goodrich, he was “an eminently native painter, who more than any other was getting more of the quality of America into his canvases”.
That describes the man and his work far better than I can.
Here is a sample of one of his prints. It looks like a drypoint, but without actually seeing it in person, I don’t know.
I often see his work and wonder how I can take similar images. Though I don’t want to put people in them. I love the drama in them.
I just love his work and have quite a few books with his paintings in them. I love looking through them. He is an important artist to me and he inspires me and his paintings inform my own work. I often think of his images when doing my own. Though I haven’t been doing it enough lately. So this post has been great for me. I hope you have enjoyed it as well.
I did read an autobiography about him once, and I have to say I don’t think he was necessarily a nice man. From the book it sounded like he was self absorbed and only concerned about himself. He was also married to an artist, and when he built his house in Maine he made sure there was a large studio for himself, but his wife wasn’t allowed to use it. She had to paint in the kitchen. It doesn’t detract from how wonderful his images were, though sometimes I think it is better not getting to know those whose work you admire.
I have another selection of images for you now.