Edward Hopper is one of America's best-loved artists. Robert Hughes, the author of American Visions: The Epic History of Art in America, wrote that "Edward Hopper was the quintessential realist painter of twentieth-century America."
Hopper was born in Nyack, New York, in 1882. He studied at the New York School of Illustrating, and 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 on to study in Paris. This was 1906, at a key time in the development of modern art.
It took a long time for Hopper to experience commercial success. He struggled for years, surviving as an illustrator. His first 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, one of his most famous works.
Hopper's most well-known works of art include:
- Approaching a City
1946 oil on canvas. In the Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.
- The Bootleggers
1925 oil on canvas. Purchased by the Currier Museum of Art, New Hampshire.
- Cape Cod Morning
1950 oil on canvas. A gift of the Sara Roby Foundation to the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.
- Carolina Morning
1955 oil on canvas. In the collection of the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.
- Chop Suey
1929 oil on canvas. In the collection of Barney A. Ebsworth.
- Coast Guard Station
1929 oil on canvas. In the collection of the Montclair Art Museum, New Jersey.
- Drug Store
1927 oil on canvas, donated by John T. Spaulding to Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. The museum writes: "Among the first of Hopper's paintings to illustrate what became a favorite theme, Drug Store depicts nocturnal solitude in the city. Eerily illuminated by electric light, the drug store window (probably located near Hopper's studio in New York's Greenwich Village) is a bright spot in a picture otherwise made up of shadowy doorways and blank facades."
- Gas 1940
1940 oil on canvas. In the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York.
- Ground Swell
1939 oil on canvas. Purchased with the help of the William A. Clark Fund for the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.
- High Noon
1949 oil on canvas. Given by Mr. and Mrs. Anthony Haswell to the Dayton Art Institute, Ohio.
- House by the Railroad
1924/1925 oil on canvas. In the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York.
- Lighthouse at Two Lights
1929 oil on canvas. Donated by the Hugo Kastor Fund to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. The museum writes: "To Hopper, the Lighthouse at Two Lights symbolized the solitary individual stoically facing the onslaught of change in an industrial society."
- Lighthouse Hill
1927 oil on canvas. In the collection of the Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, Texas.
- The Long Leg
1935 oil on canvas. Purchased by The Huntington Library, California. The library writes: "Here, the graceful movement of the boat across the water expresses Hopper's attachment to the sea and his love of sailing even as it contributes to the picture's quietude. Like many New York artists of his generation, Hopper sought relief from summer in the city by going to the New England shore. The cool tones and sense of peace in this work offer a respite from the heat and grim of New York. The locale is Stage Harbor on the southeastern coast of Cape Cod, not far from the artist's summer home in South Truro."
- Martha McKeen of Wellfleet
1944 oil on canvas. In the collection of the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum of Madrid, Spain.
- New York Movie (movie)
1939 oil on canvas. In the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York.
- Nighthawks (night hawks)
1942 oil on canvas. Purchased with the help of the Friends of American Art Collection for the Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois. The museum writes: "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.'"
- People in the Sun
1960 oil on canvas. A gift of S. C. Johnson & Son, Inc. to the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington D.C.
- Room in Brooklyn
1932 oil on canvas. In the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts.
- Room in New York
1932 oil on canvas. In the F. M. Hall Collection of the Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery and Sculpture Garden, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Nebraska.
- Rooms by the Sea
1951 oil on canvas. In the collection of the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut.
- Route 6 Eastham
1941, oil on canvas. Purchased by the Swope Art Museum, Terre Haute, Indiana. The museum writes: "Route 6, Eastham is a superb example of Edward Hopper's classic style. The painting was produced in the fall of 1941 while the artist was on holiday at his home in South Truro, on the north arm of Cape Cod. ... Hopper captured and recreated the quiet stillness and exquisite light of early autumn in New England."
- Ryder's House
1933 oil on canvas. A bequest of Henry Ward Ranger through the National Academy of Design to the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington D.C. The museum writes: "This painting, Ryder's House, is an unpeopled landscape of a forlorn dwelling. It suggests the richness of light, texture, and mood that so strongly characterizes much of Hopper's work. This, like many of his well-known paintings, was created well before World War II, yet seems to prophesy the alienation and angst often associated with the Cold War years of the 1950s."
- Second Story Sunlight
1960 oil on canvas. Purchased with funds from the Friends of the Whitney Museum of American Art for the Whitney Museum. Max Anderson wrote: "At first glance, this painting by Edward Hopper looks like a scene you might come across in real life. Look a little closer. Something feels not-quite-right. ... what's the relationship between the two figures on the balcony? They look as if they're barely engaged with one another; a lonely emptiness fills the space between them."
- Seven A.M.
1949 oil on canvas. In the collection of the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Deborah Lyons wrote: "The ledger page for Seven A.M. ... reveals probably more about the painting than Hopper himself would have revealed. Hopper's wife Jo tends to be very chatty and lively, very anecdotal. ... as the page goes on she reveals that the store, which is a very mysterious store -- it has an uncertain feeling of commerce, you're not quite sure what's sold there -- she reveals that the store is a 'blind pig,' at least in her eyes. A blind pig is a word for a speakeasy. And so the store, she imagines the store has a very shady kind of character, that it's a front for something."
- Yawl Riding a Swell
1935 oil on canvas. In the collection of the Worcester Art Museum, Worcester, Massachusetts.
In the same year that his career took off, 1924, Edward Hopper married Josephine Verstille Nivison. "Jo" modeled for many of his paintings in the following years.
In 1967, Edward Hopper passed away, leaving us a wonderful legacy of fine art. Here are some of these themes, topics, and subjects that Hopper focused on during his career: