Edward Hopper - Nighthawks - 1942

Edward Hopper - Nighthawks - 1942

Edward Hopper (1882-1967) was one of the greatest realists of the 20th Century.  He painted contemporary imagery with a classical spirit, and his work influenced a generation of writers and artists.  Hopper studied at the New York Institute of Art and Design for six years with William Merritt Chase and Robert Henri. Hopper made three trips to Paris where he copied in the Lourve and was impressed by Rembrandt.

Hopper returned to New York and worked as an illustrator until he was able to support himself as a painter.  In developing his self-image and individualistic philosophy of life,  Hopper was influenced by the writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson.  Conservative and cultured, many of his paintings show figures reading.  In 1953 Hopper wrote an essay in to the journal Reality in which he gave his view of art :

“Great art is the outward expression of an inner life in the artist, and this inner life will result in his personal vision of the world. No amount of skillful invention can replace the essential element of imagination. One of the weaknesses of much abstract painting is the attempt to substitute the inventions of the human intellect for a private imaginative conception. The inner life of a human being is a vast and varied realm and does not concern itself alone with stimulating arrangements of color, form and design. Painting will have to deal more fully and less obliquely with life and nature’s phenomena before it can again become great.”