Edward Hopper retrospective

Pictures of paintings by the artist on Visipix

Many paintings of Edward Hopper are in the Whitney Museum in New York. They have an outstanding collection of American art. Too bad, we can only publish a few paintings (Copyright is lifetime plus 70 years). A retrospective of 60 works of Edward Hopper was shown in several museums. We have seen it at the Ludwig Museum in Cologne. Visipix.com received the press kit. We edited the colors of the repros and publish them here.

Edward Hopper wasn’t a brush virtuoso. Many times he cannot paint as he wants. That is totally irrelevant. His paintings instantly fascinate millions of people in a very complex way.
Let me try to help a little bit. Please permit me to be short and simplistic. The center of most paintings by Edward Hopper is one woman – or the striking absence of persons. In “The nighthawks”, his most famous picture you see four people. Three people n the “Hotel lobby”. But anyway, more than zero or one person on a Hopper canvas are a crowd.

Please – now in front of a Hopper picture – close your eyes. Immediately, you feel the strong presence of other persons and eyeballs. Edward Hopper himself is a hidden part of his paintings. You feel his presence as a voyeur. He is not above sneaking at a nude girl obviously without her permission, without her awareness and against the laws of Massachusetts.

But that is not all! The woman in the picture and Edward Hopper just outside are related to a third person, usually male. That person is expected, or hoped for and could be nobody specific or everybody or dead or never-born. The topology is as rigid as a classic Western movie. The.woman could be related to anybody in the world but never to the voyeur-painter himself.
As a contrast, Pablo Picassos situations are the exact opposite of those of Edward Hopper. Picasso wants all girls for himself and for that he is ready to turn into an animal if the situation requires one. Of course, no torero would survive this Minotaurus for a second.

On the left: “The minotaurus” – a selfportrait of Picasso from the Suite Vollard 1933.

In Hoppers paintings, a fourth person is involved. That is you, overlooking the scene by taking over the position of Mr. Edward Hopper, wearing his glasses (if he indeed used glasses). He urges you – male or female – into the role of the girl-watcher.
I observed that Edward Hopper is the favourite artist of many women. Men react a little bit more reserved. Could it be that women love to explore emotional secrets and complications, allusions and “may-be-one-day” - while men love inherently well-organised enigmas like the riddles and problems of a Harley bike?

No wonder, people are taken in by Hopper and all say that somehow they feel uneasy.

Conclusion: The usual Hopper-painting describes a human triangle-situation in which you are no longer a bystander but definitely the corner number 2.

Final conclusion: An additional person is always present. That is Mrs. Edward Hopper. She is supervising the entire setup and it is definitely her who sets the limits. Mrs. Edward Hopper selects the model and the scene, the degree and temperature of nudity and the longing for love. She said in an interview: „. . . that evening I had to pose for Edward and show my legs“. He was not supposed to ask other women to show some legs regardless the undeniable fact that not all legs look the same. Especially not to an artist who has the time and leisure to study the facts of life.
The architecture, the interiors, the furniture, the carpets etc., the sunlight and the shadows are all typically USA, mostly East Coast. Absolutely different from Europe. When we returned from the Whitney to our hotel room at the Edison 47th and Broadway, my wife and I said with one voice: „Welcome to Hopper-country“.

In Hoppers paintings, everything shows wear and tear – the structures, buildings, rooms and also the persons. All is OK and clean but is beyond the point of meticulous cleaning.

Light and shadows make you alert. Your senses are uneasy. Hopper scenes are full of very personal expectancy, of „not-yet or maybe never“, they are loaded with unfulfilled desires.

Hopper rumours in our memories and pulls mundane scenes into the brain. He revives a thousand relations, feelings and reverberating words.