edward hopper style of art
Today in class, we viewed various paintings from Edward Hopper’s vast collection in which he depicts real life moments. I immediately noticed that he didn’t do a lot of meddling with the scene itself. He painted it as it is but of course, as many painters do, highlighted focal points through his color choices and the contours of the image itself. While these scenes might not have occurred, the viewer can witness these images all around them and is therefore able to use the relatable surroundings to bring meaning to the focal point of the painting.
Regardless of the reality of the purpose of the painting, Hopper was successful in his attempt at using his style of bringing the familiarity of everyday situations to allow the viewers to make a conclusion. We are therefore able to question the endless possibilities because of the fact that we are so familiar. If Hopper were to use scenarios present only in oblivion, our thoughts might be a little more scattered because we may not be as rational as we are with his works.
Hopper’s rural scenes are equally evocative. The House by the Railroad (1925) presents the spectacle of an extravagant isolated house (it could be a hotel) standing outlined against a clear evening sky, next to the railway track running from left to right. It sticks out like a forlorn anachronism, as if life is passing it by. His famous painting Gas (1940) alludes to the isolation of night-travellers with its solitary figure and lonely road.
FAMOUS AMERICAN PAINTERS
Noted for his Nocturnes, etchings.
Thomas Eakins (1844-1916)
Famous for The Gross Clinic.
Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986)
Flower painter; cityscape artist.
Josephine was instrumental in Hopper’s transition from oils to watercolors and shared her art-world connections with him. These connections soon led to a one-man exhibition for Hopper at the Rehn Gallery, during which all of his watercolors were sold. The success of the show allowed Hopper to quit his illustration work for good and marked the beginning of a lifelong association between Hopper and the Rehn.
Around this time, the statuesque Hopper (he stood 6’5″) began making regular summer trips to New England, whose picturesque landscapes provided ample subject matter for his impressionist-influenced paintings. Examples of this include Squam Light (1912) and Road in Maine (1914). But despite a flourishing career as an illustrator, during the 1910s Hopper struggled to find any real interest in his own art. However, with the arrival of the new decade came a reversal of fortune. In 1920, at age 37, Hopper was given his first one-man show, held at the Whitney Studio Club and arranged by art collector and patron Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney. The collection primarily featured Hopper’s paintings of Paris.
Charles Burchfield, whom Hopper admired and to whom he was compared, said of Hopper, “he achieves such a complete verity that you can read into his interpretations of houses and conceptions of New York life any human implications you wish.”  He also attributed Hopper’s success to his “bold individualism. . In him we have regained that sturdy American independence which Thomas Eakins gave us, but which for a time was lost.”  Hopper considered this a high compliment since he considered Eakins the greatest American painter. 
After his student years, Hopper’s nudes were all women. Unlike past artists who painted the female nude to glorify the female form and to highlight female eroticism, Hopper’s nudes are solitary women who are psychologically exposed.  One audacious exception is Girlie Show (1941), where a red-headed strip-tease queen strides confidently across a stage to the accompaniment of the musicians in the pit. Girlie Show was inspired by Hopper’s visit to a burlesque show a few days earlier. Hopper’s wife, as usual, posed for him for the painting, and noted in her diary, “Ed beginning a new canvas—a burlesque queen doing a strip tease—and I posing without a stitch on in front of the stove—nothing but high heels in a lottery dance pose.” 
House by the Railroad, was a famous painting created by the artist, which was the first work to be acquired for the Museum of Modern Art, which had only recently been opened for general viewing. Strongly defined lighting, clearly defined lines, and cropped viewpoints, were some of the features which this art work captured; and, this embodied the style in which Edward Hopper would use later on in his career, and with the future works that he would produce during the course of his career as an artist.
In 1923, Edward Hopper married a fellow student who attended the NY Academy where he got his education, Josephine Nivision. Not only did she pose for nearly half of the female figure pieces which he created during his career, she also encouraged and pushed him to engage in different art forms during his career as well. She pushed him to work with water colors, and she kept records of all the pieces he designed, the exhibits he was to be a part of, and all of the sales of the pieces which were made, during these exhibits in which his work was presented.
Hopper’s technique is deceptively simple, There is no great flourish of painterly display, or dazzling realist detail, he paints directly, almost brusquely, with little regard for anything but conveying the scene and, in particular, the geometry of the scene, all of the planes and angles and intersecting forms. Even his images of people are geometrically composed. A friend of mine recently remarked that Hopper paints his people exactly the same way he paints his architecture.
For a better overview of Hopper’s work on the web, try Bert Christensen’s Cyberspace Gallery, Art Renewal Center, or the other resources I’ve gathered for you below. Art Renewal probably has the largest reproductions, and perhaps the greatest number, as well as including some of Hopper’s etchings, but the color in their images of the paintings often look off to my eye. The reproductions in Bert Christensen’s Cyberspace Gallery are smaller, but their color is truer and he presents a nice selection.
No one captured the isolation of the individual within the modern city like Edward Hopper. His imagery of figures within urban settings go well beyond their role as modern cityscapes, exposing the underbelly of the human experience. So while his oeuvre officially falls within the rubric of Realism, it offers a far more evocative look at life between the World Wars. Indeed, by providing a minimum of action, stripping away almost any sign of life or mobility, and adding dramatic means of representation with striking lighting schemes in claustrophobic spaces, Hopper suggests something of the psychological inner life of his subjects, leading the way towards Abstract Expressionism. He injected significance, and the weight of the individual’s existential being in the modern metropolis or in country life, into what otherwise might appear to be straight-forward images of everyday life.
Hopper’s Automat captures a woman who has stepped out of the busy urban scene incumbent with necessary human interaction, taking refuge in the respite provided by a local diner. This image perfectly captures Hopper’s brilliant depictions of the isolation of the individual within the modern urban city. The main figure is depicted sitting alone at a table, staring pensively down at her coffee. The fact that she still wears one glove, having removed the other, indicates this will be a brief stop and that she’ll soon hurry on to another destination. By definition, automats (self-service restaurants where the food and drinks were dispensed through vending machines) suggest isolated experiences, the opportunity to pick up a meal without exchanging pleasantries. This subject probably had great appeal to the reticent, slightly antisocial Hopper. Of additional interest is her delineation from an adjacent table, suggesting the presence of an unidentified viewer. The idea of a voyeur’s gaze on a lonely, dejected single woman was exhibited in Impressionistic masterpieces such as Г‰douard Manet’s The Plum (c. 1877) and Edgar Degas’s L’Absinthe (1876). Hopper surpasses these images by elevating the significance of the setting to a level on par with that of the figure, emphasizing the automat’s function as a busy venue where, despite the autonomous act of retrieving food from a machine, crowds are the norm. Psychological nuance is added by focusing on a woman sunk in loneliness despite being in a place consistently flooded with people.