Hopper, Edward

(b. July 22, 1882, Nyack, N.Y., U.S.
d. May 15, 1967, New York, N.Y.) U.S. painter.

He was initially trained as an illustrator but later studied painting with Robert Henri. In 1913 he exhibited in the Armory Show but spent much of his time on advertising art and illustrative etchings. In the mid 1920s he turned to watercolours and oil paintings of urban life. His House by the Railroad (1925) and Room in Brooklyn (1932) depict still, anonymous figures within geometric building forms, producing the haunting sense of isolation that was to be his hallmark. He used light to isolate figures and objects, as in Early Sunday Morning (1930) and Nighthawks (1942). His mature style was already formed in the 1920s; his later development showed constant refinement and an even greater mastery of light.

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▪ American artist
born July 22, 1882, Nyack, N.Y., U.S.
died May 15, 1967, New York City

      U.S. painter whose realistic depictions of everyday urban scenes shock the viewer into recognition of the strangeness of familiar surroundings. He strongly influenced the Pop art and New Realist painters of the 1960s and 1970s.

      Hopper was initially trained as an illustrator, but, between 1901 and 1906, he studied painting under Robert Henri, a member of a group of painters called the Ashcan School. Hopper travelled to Europe three times between 1906 and 1910, but he remained untouched by the experimental work then blossoming in France and continued throughout his career to follow his own artistic course. Although he exhibited paintings in the Armory Show of 1913, he devoted most of his time to advertising art and illustrative etchings until 1924. He then began to do such watercolours as “Model Reading” (1925; Art Institute of Chicago), as well as oil paintings. Like the painters of the Ashcan School, Hopper painted the commonplaces of urban life. But, unlike their loosely organized, vivacious paintings, his “House by the Railroad” (1925; Museum of Modern Art, New York City) and “Room in Brooklyn” (1932; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston) show still, anonymous figures and stern geometric forms within snapshot-like compositions that create an inescapable sense of loneliness. This isolation of his subjects was heightened by Hopper's characteristic use of light to insulate persons and objects in space, whether in the harsh morning light (“Early Sunday Morning,” 1930; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City) or the eerie light of an all-night coffee stand (“Nighthawks,” 1942; Art Institute of Chicago).

      Hopper's mature style was already formed by the mid-1920s. His subsequent development showed a constant refinement of his vision. Such late paintings as “Second-Story Sunlight” (1960; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City) are distinguished by extremely subtle spatial relationships and an even greater mastery of light than is seen in his work of the 1920s.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Hopper,Edward — Hop·per (hŏpʹər), Edward. 1882 1967. American painter famous for his stark, realist style. Among his best known works are Early Sunday Morning (1930) and Nighthawks (1942). * * * …   Universalium

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