Edward Hopper The poet of silence

Edward Hopper was born on July 22, in Hudson in the small River town of Nyack, New York in 1882. He was one of two children of a comfortably well-to-do family, his parents were Elizabeth Griffiths Smith and Garret Henry Hopper, a dry-goods merchant. Hopper was a good student in grade school and showed talent in drawing at age five.

Hopper's parents encouraged his art and kept him amply supplied with materials, instructional magazines, and illustrated books. By his teens, he was working in pen-and-ink, charcoal, watercolor, and oil—drawing from nature as well as making political cartoons.

In 1895, he created his first signed oil painting, Rowboat in Rocky Cove. It shows his early interest in nautical subjects. Infact Edward loved the sea when he was young. That explains why some of his paintings had the scene at the sea or beaches (but also outdoor scenes as a lighthouse, a church, streets, houses and trees). When he was a child he spent a lot of time by the sea in ship yards in his hometown. And he had an interest of boats and the military. He wanted to pursue the career of a naval architect. But when he was 15 years old, his father gave him supplies to build a catboat of, and it didn't end out well. So instead, he decided to pursue a career in art and in 1900 he transferred to the New York School of Art, where he worked with Robert Henri, one of the fathers of American Realism.

Many years later, in 1906, he went to study in Paris, to learn about the Vanguards that were developing in Europe. He remained particularly impressed by the art of the Impressionists.

In 1913 he sold his first painting, Sailing, for $ 250 but for support himself, he must to work as an illustrator for advertising agencies, work that he hates. It is during this period that, in addition to painting, Hopper learns the technique: it will be this to make it known by the public winning prizes and awards.

In 1923 he met the artist Josephine Nivison that from now on will be the model for all those female portraits from him. The two were married a year later but their will be a stormy relationship due to the capricious nature of that ill-Jo is combined with the stubborn silence of Edward.

In 1924 Hopper gets the deserved success with an exhibition at Gallery Rehn that puts the public and critics agree.

In 1925 his painting titled Apartment Houses is purchased by the Pennsylvania Academy in 1930 while the work House by the Railroad becomes part of the permanent collection of the MoMA in New York three years later the first retrospective dedicated to him.

House by the Railroad

In 1942 he painted his most famous work, Nighthawks. In the painting there is the essence of Hopper: the subject inspired by the daily life, the contrast between light and dark, which encloses the protagonists in a "bubble of light", the sense of loneliness and lack of communication transmitted by patrons who , despite being neighbors they seem to ignore each other.

Hopper leaves the stage at the end of the fifties, with the rise of abstract expressionism. A few years before he died, in 1965, he will carry out the work Two comedians in which it is easy to see his portraits and his wife Josephine who greet the public for the last time. He died in 1967.

He is considered the greatest exponent of American realism.

His works tell the story of America at that time: didn’t make it through the glitz of high-rise buildings or monuments but by portraying the daily life: from petrol stations to quiet streets, illuminated by street lamps and neon lights.The Hopper paintings tell stories, like torn frames in a movie whose plot is defined by the viewer in the moment when you stop to contemplate admired the artwork.

Hopper's works are made through silence and solitude. This was so because Edward Hopper: Melancholy and silent, a person who preferred to the sky, the mountains and the sunny desert of Mexico, the charm of an isolated station in the American campaign.

Created By
Annalaura d'Atri

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