Edward Hopper's Paintings: Nighthawks
Edward Hopper painted Nighthawks as an oil on canvas in 1942. It was purchased with the help of the Friends of American Art Collection for the Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois.
The museum writes: "Hopper explained that Nighthawks was inspired by 'a restaurant on New York's Greenwich Avenue where two streets meet.' The diner has since been destroyed, but the image, with its carefully constructed composition and lack of narrative, has a timeless quality that transcends any particular location. The painting reveals three customers lost in their own private thoughts. The anonymous and uncommunicative night owls seem as remote from the viewer as they are from one another. Although Hopper denied that he purposely infused any of his paintings with symbols of isolation and emptiness, he acknowledged of Nighthawks that, 'unconsciously, probably, I was painting the loneliness of a large city.'
"In selecting his vantage point, Hopper eliminated any reference to the diner's entrance. The viewer, drawn to the light shining from the interior, is shut out from the scene by a seamless wedge of glass, a characteristic of Art Deco design. Hopper's understanding of the expressive possibilities of light playing upon the simplified shapes gives the painting its beauty. Fluorescent lights had just come into use in the early 1940s, and the eerie glow flooding the dark street corner may be attributed to this innovation. The moody contrast of light against dark and the air of menace inside has been linked to film noir, a movement in American cinema that featured stories of urban crime and moral corruption."
See below for more about Edward Hopper's life and work. Nighthawks paintings are for sale as art prints from AllPosters, one of the largest and most reputable online poster stores. They have a great selection, good customer service, and you can't usually find lower prices on art prints. (But if you have time and prefer to shop around, you can click here to compare poster stores.)
Robert Hughes, the author of American Visions: The Epic History of Art in America, has written that "Edward Hopper was the quintessential realist painter of twentieth-century America." The American public agrees with the art experts when it comes to Hopper. His paintings are extremely popular.
Edward Hopper did not achieve acclaim as a painter easily. He was born in Nyack, New York, in 1882. He studied at the New York School of Illustrating, and later at the more prestigious New York School of Art. Here he studied under American realist Robert Henri. After his studies at the NY School of Art, Edward Hopper went to Europe to study in Paris. This was 1906, at a key time in the development of modern art.
Hopper struggled for years. He paid the bills working as a commercial illustrator. His first creative success as a painter came in 1924 when he sold out a show at the Rehn Gallery in New York. This is the year he painted The House by the Railroad. He went on to create many other well-known paintings, including: The Bootleggers (1925), Drug Store (1927), Lighthouse Hill (1927), Chop Suey (1929), Coast Guard Station (1929), Lighthouse at Two Lights (1929), Room in Brooklyn (1932), Room in New York (1932), The Long Leg (1935), Yawl Riding a Swell (1935), Ground Swell (1939), New York Movie (1939), Gas (1940), Route 6 Eastham (1941), Nighthawks (1942), Martha McKeen of Wellfleet (1944), Approaching a City (1946), High Noon (1949), Seven A.M. (1949), Cape Cod Morning (1950), Rooms by the Sea (1951), Carolina Morning (1955), People in the Sun (1960), Second Story Sunlight (1960).
In the same year that his painting career first took off, 1924, Edward Hopper married Josephine Verstille Nivison. "Jo" modeled for many of Edward's paintings in the following years.
In 1967, Edward Hopper passed away, leaving us a wonderful legacy of fine art. His subject matter ranges from diners and restaurants, to rooms and houses, to women and other people. He painted cityscapes in New York, and many roads, lighthouses, sailboats, and other images of the sea from his summers in New England.
Hopper Art Links