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Edward Hopper Artist Biography

Known as an American Scene painter, Edward Hopper's reputation is marked by his profound vision of American life. In the words of art critic Robert Hughes, "Edward Hopper was the quintessential realist painter of 20th century America. His images have become part of the very grain and texture of American experience, and even today. It is all but impossible to see America without some refraction through them." (Hughes, 'American Visions').

Edward Hopper was born in Nyack in New York State in 1882. He was to spend the majority of his life in New York City, holding a studio on the top floor of 3 Washington Square North for over fifty years. He studied at the New York School of Art (the Chase School) as well as a brief stint in Paris. Besides exhibiting and selling a picture at the Armory Show in 1913, he spent the next ten years working exclusively as a commercial illustrator.

Hopper's early work was clearly influenced by Impressionism in the European tradition, particularly characterized by his female nudes, the study of which continued throughout his career.

Rarely developing narratives in his work, Edward Hopper was primarily concerned with the struggle between man and his surroundings. In his highly formal compositions, he was able to convey a character's complex inner life in direct correlation to his environment, often achieving a great sense of poignancy.

Preoccupied with the effect of light and shadow and the moods they evoked at different times of the day, he took pleasure in the commonplace, depicting such everyday scenes as motel rooms, filling stations, street scenes and cafeterias and making him in every sense an American Impressionist. One of this last example, being defined by his best known work, is 'Nighthawks' (1942).

As his career progressed, he became fascinated with the confrontation between Nature and Civilization, most noticeably in paintings such as 'Gas' (1940), where the tension is expressed through both color contrasts and precise composition. Edward Hopper died in 1967, in his studio near Washington Square, in New York City.

"Maybe I am not very human. What I wanted to do was to paint sunlight on the side of a house." (Edward Hopper)"In general it can be said that a nation's art is greatest when it most reflects the character of its people." - Edward Hopper

More art prints from Edward Hopper

Portrait of Orleans, 1950 By Edward Hopper
Hill and Houses, Cape Elizabeth, Maine, 1927 By Edward Hopper
Ground Swell By Edward Hopper
Morgensonne, 1952 By Edward Hopper
Nighthawks By Edward Hopper
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