Edward Hopper was one of the greatest American artists of his time. His work has left modern artists inspired and influenced. Recurring themes in his work are loneliness and solitude. Born in 1882 in New York to a middle class family, he made his living through commercial art and print making, although this was not his real passion. He studied in the New York school of illustration but switched the New York school of art instead. He was taught by Robert Henri, one of the American leaders of the realism movement. He studied for seven years here and then travelled to Paris. Although this was his only trip to Europe, he was influenced for the rest of his career. He rejected European influences, he said ‘’American art should capture the character or the nation’’ . He had his first solo exhibition at age 37, but didn’t sell a single painting. He married Jo Nivison, who modelled as all the females in his paintings. He died in his studio in 1967 age 84.
Edward Hoppe loved the cinema. He was just 13 years old when the first silent movie was shown. It fascinated him. He was in his late 40s when the first ‘’talkie’’ or movie with sound was shown. He was a frequent movie goer and when he wasn’t in the mood to paint, he’d go and see a film instead. His paintings were used as inspiration for scenes in Alfred Hitchcock’s films. In his films, no absolute judgement was passed on the characters, as we see in Hoppers paintings. The people are shown, but not judged. We, the viewers, can make up our own minds. Hitchcock even credited the idea for the house in his film Psycho to looking at House by the Railroad.
‘’Nighthawks’’ is his most famous, recognisable piece of work. It is oil on canvas. We see the loneliness in a large city in this painting.
‘’Nighthawks’’ was painted after Hopper read ‘’The Killers’’ by Ernest Hemmingway, which tells the story of two hit men, who arrive at a small town diner to murder a former boxer. They sit in the diner, eat a meal and then tie up...