Artist: Edward Hopper
Custom Framed Edward Hopper Paintings and Posters
At Framed-Arts.com, we offer a wide selection of custom framed Edward Hopper paintings and posters, from Nighthawks to House by the Railroad. The works we feature can be browsed from our custom search page, while this page contains facts about the life and art of Edward Hopper. Read on to find out information about the American artist’s life and work.
A Short Biography of Edward Hopper
Born in New York State in July 1882, Edward Hopper became during his lifetime a renowned American artist. Best known for his oil paintings, he was equally proficient as a watercolorist and printmaker.
As a young man, Hopper studied illustration and painting at the New York Institute of Art and Design. He studied for ten years under the tutelage of artist Robert Henri, who encouraged his students to "make a stir in the world" with their art. Henri also taught his students to render realistic depictions of urban life. Many of Henri’s students developed into important artists, and eventually became known as practitioners of the Ashcan School of American art.
After finishing his formal education, Hopper made four trips to Europe to study the emerging art scene there. Unlike many of his contemporaries who imitated the abstract cubists, however, Hopper was influenced more by the idealism and detail of the realist painters. The emphasis on color and shape in his early projects reflects the realist influence. Rejecting the typical New England subjects of seascapes or boats, Hopper was drawn to Victorian architecture, though it was no longer in fashion
Hopper worked for several years as a commercial artist, and continued painting with only moderate success. He sold a variety of prints and watercolors to tourists and minor publications, but received only a casual response from gallery owners and curators.
Hopper's "breakthrough work" was The Mansard Roof, painted in 1923 during his first summer in Gloucester, MA. His former art school classmate and eventual wife, Josephine Nivison, suggested he enter the piece in the Brooklyn Museum annual watercolor show. The museum decided to purchase The Mansard Roof for its permanent collection for $100.
In 1925, Hopper painted House by the Railroad, a work that displayed his artistic maturity. The piece is the first of a series of stark urban and rural depictions marked by sharp lines, large shapes and unusual lighting that combine to capture the lonely mood of Hopper’s subjects. For this series, Hopper derived inspiration from the common features of American life--gas stations, the railroad, motels, even an empty street--and its inhabitants.
Hopper continued to paint throughout his life, dividing time between New York City and Truro, Massachusetts. He died in 1967 in his studio near Washington Square. His wife, who died ten months later, bequeathed his work to the Whitney Museum of American Art. Other significant paintings by Hopper are at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, The Des Moines Art Center, and the Art Institute of Chicago.
Themes in Hopper’s Work
Hopper’s choice of subject matter can be compared to that of his contemporary, Norman Rockwell. Many of Hopper's paintings seek to reveal the subtle interaction of human beings with their environment and with each other, and feature open spaces and the contrast between natural and artificial light. Like stills for a movie or tableaux in a play, Hopper positions his human subjects as if they have been captured just before or just after the climax of a scene. Nighthawks (1942), probably the best known of Hopper's paintings, shows customers seated at the counter of an all-night diner. The harsh electric lighting inside the diner sets it apart from the gentle night outside, and the contrast between interior and exterior enhances the mood of the painting.
In 1980, the groundbreaking show, "Edward Hopper: The Art and the Artist," opened at the Whitney Museum of American Art. The exhibition later visited San Francisco and Chicago, as well as London, Dusseldorf, and Amsterdam. For the first time ever, this show presented Hopper's oil paintings together with his paper drawings, which were studies for his better-known paintings. This exhibition marked the beginning of Hopper's popularity in Europe and his internationally renowned reputation.
In 2004, a large selection of Hopper's paintings were shown in Europe, with stops at Cologne, Germany and Tate Modern in London. With 420,000 visitors in the three months it was open, the Tate exhibition became the second most popular in the gallery's history.
In 2007, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, held an exhibition that focused on the period of Hopper’s greatest achievements--from about 1925 to mid-century. The exhibit was comprised of fifty oil paintings, thirty watercolors, and twelve prints, including favorites Nighthawks, Chop Suey, and Lighthouse and Buildings. The exhibition was organized with help from the National Gallery of Art and The Art Institute of Chicago, and was sponsored by the global management consulting firm, Booz Allen Hamilton.
Hopper's influence on pop culture and the art world is undeniable. His work has inspired artists from many walks of life, including film, music, literature, and even Japanese animation. Homages to Nighthawks featuring famous pop culture icons or cartoon characters can often be found in gift shops. Hopper's wide compositions and dramatic use of light have also made him a favorite among filmmakers. For example, Hopper’s House by the Railroad is purported to have inspired the iconic house in the Alfred Hitchcock film Psycho. The same painting has also been cited as an influence on the home in the Terrence Malick film Days of Heaven.
The Life and Art of Edward Hopper
We hope this short Edward Hopper biography has provided insight into Hopper’s life and work. You can browse our selection of custom framed Edward Hopper paintings and posters by visiting our custom search page. Happy print shopping, and please contact us with any questions.