Edward Hopper

Edward Hopper

Style: Realism

Lived: July 22, 1882 - May 15, 1967 (20th century)

Nationality: USA


Edward Hopper was born in the small Hudson River town of Nyack, New York State on the 22nd July 1882. Hopper didn't have many friends as a child, as he preferred activities on his own such as reading and drawing.

After his high school education, Edward Hopper went to the New York School of Art to study commercial art and painting. There he met what would become his greatest artistic influence: artist Robert Henri. Robert Henri was an Realist painter who urged his students to depict all aspects of urban life.

In 1906 Hopper briefly went to visit Europe (and Paris in particular). Edward Hopper particularly admired the great effects the Impressionists could reach with outdoor light.


Back in America, Edward Hopper was struggling to make it as an artist. His early paintings, heavily influenced by the French art scene, were not liked by the American public, so Hopper had to rely on the sale of his etchings and illustrations for income.

Because of his lack of success, Edward Hopper decided to devote his attention to American subjects. Finally, at age 42, Hopper achieved success with an exhibition of watercolors portraying New England towns and he was able to devote the rest of his career to painting.

Hopper established early the style and subject matter that brought him fame. He enjoyed exploring New England by car, and his paintings of motels, gas stations, and hotel lobbies evoked the moods and places of a tourist's experience. Frequently he painted people alone or isolated from one another in introspective scenes that seemed to find modern life bleak and lonely. Sunlight also fascinated Hopper, and he used it masterfully to set mood. An avid theatergoer, he often created a suspenseful silence in his paintings, as if the curtain had just risen on a drama.


Edward Hopper's popularity didn't seem to last as his inspiration dried out. Hopper often had a "painter's block", and didn't feel anything for the upcoming of the Abstract Expressionists. Hopper died in 1967, in his studio near Washington Square, in New York City, forgotten by the audience. His wife Josephine Nivison, who was also a painter, bequeathed his work to the Whitney Museum of American Art.

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