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Saturday, 5 December 2015

Painting of the Month (58): Dec. 2015, Edward Hopper


Night Windows, 1928.Oil on canvas, 29 x 34 inches. 
The Museum of Modern Art, New York. 


Edward Hopper, (1882-1967), specialised in painting night scenes of New York City. He showed views of bars, cafes, offices and domestic scenes. They evoked a real 'feel' of New York and frequently portrayed lonely individuals in unremarkable situations. At the time of this picture he was resident in Greenwich Village and this is a view into a neighbouring apartment. The woman is in an inelegant pose and seems to be oblivious of the viewer; the viewer becomes a voyeur. The way in which the woman is half out of view is something adapted from the work of Degas, someone whom Hopper admired, (see below). 

We get a glimpse of someone's private space in the same way that one might do when looking out of a train window. The curtain blowing out of an open window suggests a summer evening and this scene is really more redolent of 1920's New York than views of skyscrapers; the isolation and urban loneliness of individuals who are actually crowded together is suggested. Hopper was always interested in the effects of light and this painting is almost a triptych with the three windows. Here are some other pictures by Hopper. 
To me, each one of these paintings strongly suggests a narrative and a back-story :





Listening to Dissatisfied Blues by Brownie McGhee from the album Back Country Blues

22 comments:

Denise Covey said...

Bazza, these are glorious pictures. Thanks for sharing with us. :-)

Dixie@dcrelief said...

Hi Bazza. I don't recall Brownie McGee's music. I'll check it out later.
Edward Hopper is one of my favorites. I didn't know he did etchings too. Quite the talent! I've always wanted a copy of that corner cafe!

bazza said...

Hi Denise. I'm glad you enjoyed these pictures. I think they repay a bit of a linger!

bazza said...

Hi Dixie. That coffee shop picture is called Nighthawks and is probably Hopper's most famous painting. In my contrary way, I chose another picture!
Brownie McGee and the harmonica player Sonny Terry recorded hundreds of blues tunes together from the 50's to the 70's. If you enjoy 'country' blues style they are worth checking out.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Bazza - they are glorious works of art of such different subjects. The way he paints reminds me of the Liner, Train, Tube, Town Council or County posters of the 1920s and 1930s ... that are so popularly reprinted now. Cheers Hilary

David said...

Hi bazza,
I actually have a copy of "Nighthawks" (which you show in your post) hanging in my bedroom. Indeed, I am a bit of a fan of Hopper's work, and believe he had something of an influence on the aesthetic of film noir. Being a big film fan I suppose it's not surprising that his art resonates with me.
Hope all's well with you, bazza.
Very Best Wishes,
David.

John said...

Hi Bazza!
I must admit to finding these paintings slightly voyeuristic, as you have said. I wonder if the artist had permission from his subjects!?
J
Follow me at HEDGELAND TALES

bazza said...

Hi Hilary. Yes, those posters are from the same era. My Painting of the Month in August 2011 featured London Transport artists. See:
http://todiscoverice.blogspot.co.uk/2011/07/paintings-of-month-20-august-2011.html

bazza said...

Hi David. Yes, these elements are all of that kind of age and Hopper was certainly around and painting before the era of Film Noir (from the 1940's on). How about a post from you on Film Noir? A smashing topic!

bazza said...

Hi John. That's an interesting question. I have no idea what the answer is; maybe I will research it.

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

This picture reminded me of a moment of my childhood in NY. Our family was out one summer evening taking a walk to a local park, as we usually did on warm nights. When I looked up at what I thought was a very elegant building, I saw a half naked lady standing in her apartment by the window. I had never seen a naked lady before and wondered what she about. That memory has stayed with me all these years as it was so intriguing for a young, very innocent girl.

bazza said...

Hi Arleen. That's a lovely story. I think we are all a little bit voyeuristic at heart. It's strange how a memory can last so long and how it can unexpectedly be recalled!

All Consuming said...

Great pictures bazza, I like a bit of Hopper, there's a peacefulness to them.

bazza said...

Hi AC: I think that 'peacefulness' is a good adjective to describe his paintings but I think that 'loneliness' and 'alienation' work well too.

loverofwords said...

Hopper is one of my favorite American Artists. He caught the big city life, the loneliness so well.

bazza said...

"Hello Natasha, it's so good to have you back where you belong....."
I have long been a big fan of Edward Hopper; he's probably in my US top two or three along with Geogia O'Keefe.

klahanie said...

Ah bazza, odd, um, old chap,

Nothing like a bit of Hopper and maybe I should go to New York and see my American fans.

Toodle pip!

Gazza!

bazza said...

Hi Gary/Gazza. I think maybe you should commission a painting of yourself to give your fans something to worship. Alas, Hopper is no longer with us; try Hockney!

Sherry Ellis said...

I like the picture of the lady drinking coffee at the table. She looks rather pensive. I'd like to know what she's thinking.

bazza said...

Hi Sherry. She's deep in thought and rather lonely. Yet another man she loved has stood her up and, although she doesn't know it yet, he has emptied her bank account. Earlier she had told all the girls in the office that "this is the one"; now she doesn't know how she will face them tomorrow.....

Hels said...

Great choice of paintings! The Whitney Museum of American Art put on a very interesting exhibition last year. Each of Edward Hopper's paintings from the Whitney’s permanent collection was paired with the work of a contemporary photographer who shared an interest in elevating everyday subject matter. My question: was who achieved the most mystery and poignancy, the painter or the photographer?

thanks for the link
http://melbourneblogger.blogspot.com.au/2014/10/kelvington-glasgow-and-whitney-new-york.html

bazza said...

Hello Hels, thanks for visiting; I will repay the compliment! I think Hopper (and Degas) were influenced by what photography could achieve. I think both media can achieve that mystery narrative effect. In a similar vein, see my old post on Cindy SHERMAN