Thursday, February 22, 2018

Edward Hopper (by Sofia Zymnis)

Edward Hopper was born in 1882 in New York, and was a painter, printmaker and illustrator. He grew up in a town near the Hudson River, where he developed his love for nature. Although Hopper is now world-famous for his paintings, his career in art initially begun with illustration, as his parents urged him to pursue a career that was more stable than fine arts. He studied illustration in the Correspondence School of Illustrating in New York until 1900 and then at the New York School of Art until 1906.    

Date: 1929
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 29 1/2 x 43 1/4 in. (74.9 x 109.9 cm)

After that he begun working in an advertising agency and later visited Europe, where he was influenced by the numerous visits to museums, and that’s where he produced many paintings en plein air. His first exhibition was held in March 1908 in New York and was formed as a protest against the conservative standards set by the National Academy. Hopper’s works often effuse a feeling of loneliness and detachment and are often considered to be in the realm of Realism.

Date: 1953
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 28 x 40 in. (71.1 x 101.6 cm)

Hopper's career in illustration had a clear impact on his style of painting, influenced by his teachers such as Robert Henri and Kenneth Hayes Miller. These artist perpetuated a figurative tradition, taught concepts of design and composition and emphasized the importance of art immerced in life. After his illustrative career, Hopper developed an aversion towards it and this chose to focus mostly in architecture, texture, and light. One of his main goals was to elevate the particular into the epic, through making his art poetic and lyrical. Although Hopper is well known for his paintings, I was able to find numerous of his sketches and drawings, which he used as preperation for his paintings.

Study for Nighthawks, 1941 or 1942.
Fabricated chalk and charcoal on paper; 11 1/8 x 15 in

Oil on canvas
84.1 x 152.4 cm (33 1/8 x 60 in.)

Hopper was a prolific sketcher, as he kept numerous of his drawings, most of which are now in the collection of the Whitney Museum of American Art. Although many of Hopper's critics would point out Hopper's paintings as being awkward and lacking skill, his sketches show the artist's mastering of visual expression through the medium of drawing. 

Standing Female Nude with Arm Behind Back, Rear View, 1920–25.
Fabricated chalk on paper, 22 x 15 in. (55.9 x 38.1 cm).

Hopper, House and Road, ca. 1940/45, charcoal on bond inch

The reason why I particularly  like this artist is due to the loneliness and calmeness that the artworks effuse. I also particularly like voyeuristic nature many of his artworks, making the viewer feel as if they are watching a scene which they are not supposed to. He inserts the viewer in a seemingly intimate scene, making the viewer aware that they are in a way 'intruding', but nontheless immersing the viewer fully into the scene. In this way he creates a paradox of intimacy and intrusion, which render his artworks truly unique. 

Works Cited

“Edward Hopper.” Art Institute Chicago, 2013,

“Edward Hopper | Artist | Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History | The Metropolitan Museum of Art.” The Met's Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2018,

Foster, Carter E. “Edward Hopper’s Drawings.” The Hopkins Review, vol. 7, ser. 2, 2014, pp. 206–226. 2.

Hopper, Edward. “Six Drawings.” Harvard Review, no. 29, 2005, pp. 102–107.

Levin, G. (2003). Hopper, Edward. Grove Art Online. Retrieved 3 Feb. 2018, from


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