Monday, July 22, 2013

Happy birthday, artist Edward Hopper

Detail from Nighthawks (1942); inset: self-portrait
It is the birthday of realist painter Edward Hopper (1882), who is most well known for his oil painting Nighthawks (1942), though he also worked in watercolor as well as etchings and pen and ink sketches. Nighthawks features four people in an all-night diner on what appears to be a lonely street corner. It suggests a film noir setting and, indeed, is said to have been inspired by Ernest Hemingway's short story The Killers (1927) or, perhaps, his story A Clean, Well-Lighted Place (1933). Hopper said of the paint that there is the possibility of danger outside the dark. Hopper's subjects tended to be typical everyday scenes, many capturing contemporary urban life. Among his other well-known paintings are Girl at Sewing Machine (1921), Automat (1927), Chop Suey (1929), Early Sunday Morning … (1930), and Office at Night (1940), a sensually charged scene of a young woman and a slightly older man, apparently working in an office after hours.

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