Edward Hopper’s gritty depictions of post-war America convey not only the zeitgeist of the Great Depression, but also 2020.
We all, at one point or another, embodied an Edward Hopper painting during quarantine, reminiscing longingly of the days where Corona meant a lime wedge and buzz, and not the claiming of innocent lives. Hopper’s modern masterpieces explore the realities of drastic social change, capturing a truly candid portrayal of the lost American dream.
In order to honour the American realist, here are five things you didn’t know about Edward Hopper.
1. The Delphianredhead in Nighthawks is his wife
Josephine Hopper was Hopper’s muse for many of his paintings, and even inspired the name of Hopper’s (arguably) most famous painting. Keeping an intricate journal of all her husbands artistic endeavours, Josephine Hopper wrote, “Ed finished now a very good painting – a restaurant at night, with three figures. Night Hawks would be a great name for it. E. posed for the two men in a mirror and I to the girl. He was about a month and a half working on this painting.”
Unbeknownst to many, Hopper was a huge fan of cinema, and his fervour for film guided his paintbrush. His passion for the pictures was so apparent, his artistry even inspired cinema giant, Alfred Hitchcock. Hopper’s painting, House by the Railroad, depicts a Dickensian house looming over a railway, andwent on to inspire Hitchcock’s ominous Bates Hotel in Psycho.
Hopper embraced the mundane, grisly and banality of the urban landscape, revealing the unhealed wound left behind by the Great Depression’s unyielding blade. The depths of nostalgia and human vulnerability throb in Hopper’s masterpieces, painting the leaching anxiety that encompassed America in the 1940s. He accepted this world, affirming its presence and embracing it as a catalyst for his creativity.
4. Nearly all of his artworks are in one place
When Josephine Hopper died in 1968, she donated 3,000 of her husband’s artworks to the Whitney Museum in New York. In reality, Hopper’s paintings are dotted in various institutions across the Big Apple, including his Westchester County childhood home.
In 2013, a bromidic painting of a drowsy, New Jersey town sold for a cool 40.5 mil, scooped up at Christie’s New York by a private collector. The painting was created during a mystical New York winter in 1934, where viewers can nearly feel the wind whipping around the row of houses.
Don’t worry, our Hopper-inspired paintings won’t set you back 40 million, but why not find a piece of American realism for your space?