Art has changed and developed in drastic ways throughout history. You can often tell when an artist created by the methods and techniques that they learned and perfected. An artist who inspires me because of his timeless art and independence from other art movements that were developing during his career is Edward Hopper. Hopper’s unique American realism celebrates modernity, while also reflecting the isolation that parallels it, and the meaning and brilliance of his art continues to reflect many emotions surrounding current events.
Edward Hopper was born on July 22, 1882, in Nyack, New York (Biography.com). At the time, the region Hopper grew up in was well known for its artistic influence, as it was home to the Hudson River Art School. Partially because of this influence, he began drawing and creating art at a very young age. He studied art at the New York City School of Art and Design, and although he planned on going into illustrations, he found his true passion in creating paintings. He made commissioned illustrations for magazines after he graduated, but felt unfulfilled and bored. Hopper always talked about his love for painting, though, and after a major exhibition of his creations, he was able to make it his full-time career. Hopper married his wife, Josephine, in 1924, and she quickly became the muse and reference for his art (edwardhopper.net). Their marriage was unhealthy, and Hopper pressured Jo out of her own art career. In January of 1942, Hopper completed his most recognizable painting, ‘Nighthawks’, and it instantly became well-known and admired. Hopper remained popular until the rise of Abstract Expressionism. However, he continued to create many significant artworks until he died in his studio on May 15, 1967.
Edward Hopper is well known for his distinctive style, which developed through experience, reference, and desire to represent a different side of life. At art school, he studied under Henri and learned the importance of expressing emotion through art, and as someone who was known for being awkward and reclusive, this spoke to Hopper and began to manifest itself into his works. He visited Europe three times between 1906 and 1910 and took inspiration from the Impressionists and their use of light (edwardhopper.net). As he lived in New York, his paintings became more distinct as they reflected his feelings of isolation in public spaces, and he perfected this aesthetic and style throughout the rest of his career.
Hopper’s art is influential and timeless in many ways. Many admire his use of realism to express emotions, which he does through setting, lighting, and subject. His art expresses loneliness, isolation, and otherness in the modern world, which is a phenomenon that has only become more prevalent as time has passed. His art speaks to many because of its relatability and message. Recently, many have used him as an inspiration to express the period of isolation the world is experiencing and adapting the settings and characters in his art to mirror modern life (openculture.com).
Hopper’s art remains iconic in its resonance and meaning to this day, and his art shows the world in an unusual, personal way. His legacy continues, as works like ‘Nighthawks’, ‘Room in New York’, and ‘Hotel Lobby’ showcase life in a way that many experience but few can describe. Hopefully, people inspired by his art (like myself) can learn to better express and identify beautiful aspects of the harsh and unique period of history that is currently unfolding.