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Edward Hopper's passion was to portray "typical America". Hopper was one of the finest of the American scene painters in the Realist tradition. His city scenes and landscapes are vivid reflections of the American life of his time. Several of his paintings, such as "House by the Railroad" (1925), "Early Sunday Morning" (1930) and "Nighthawks" (1942), have...
Edward Hopper's passion was to portray "typical America". Hopper was one of the finest of the American scene painters in the Realist tradition. His city scenes and landscapes are vivid reflections of the American life of his time. Several of his paintings, such as "House by the Railroad" (1925), "Early Sunday Morning" (1930) and "Nighthawks" (1942), have become icons of modern American art. They depict the loneliness, anonymity and lack of variety in the daily life of ordinary people. Edward Hopper was born in Nyack, New York, in 1882. After training to become a commercial artist in 1899-1900, he studied at the New York School of Art from 1900 to 1906. He made several trips to Europe between 1906 and 1910, mainly to Paris. He started living and working in New York City in 1908. In 1924 he married the painter Josephine Verstille Nivison. In 1933, the Hoppers purchased land on Cape Cod, where they spent nearly every summer. The Museum of Modern art held the first retrospective of his work in 1933. Hopper died in 1967 in his New York studio. Hopper studied under Robert Henri at the New York School of Art, and his work was highly influenced by the realism of Henri's so-called "Ashcan School" and by French Impressionist painters, such as Degas and Toulouse-Lautrec, who also took the life of the city as their subject. This study examines the apparent dichotomy within Hopper's work. On the one hand, his compositions comprise lonely, deserted small towns or solitary figures in empty offices, desolate houses or hotel rooms. In contrast, he painted the landscape of New England, where he spent almost every summer with his wife, Jo, as bright and tranquil. He seemed to analyze the psychological restrictions and isolation of everyday life and the joy of the freedom of vacation. The book illustrates this dichotomy with reproductions of many of Hopper's most famous compositions in full colour. It shows how, by linking fiction and reality, vividness and rigidity, concealment and revelation, Hopper's images evoke an enigmatic uncertainty, which is both mystifying and fascinating.
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