Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Edward Hopper

Room in New York, 1932

The Boston Museum of Fine Arts is showing a retrospective of Edward Hopper's work, which started Sunday and runs until August 19. I love Hopper's paintings. I know that Nighthawks is the apex of noir art, if there is such a thing, inspiring both filmmakers and novelists; but I've come to appreciate his other work much much more.

That starter novel that hides somewhere on my hard drive, the hard copies withering and decomposing within my file drawers, was greatly inspired by Hopper's work - it's not his fault the thing was so pretentious, that blame is the burden of a beginning MFA student who was trying too hard to write like someone he was not. (See?!? MFA's are dangerous if not used correctly) Each chapter of that terrible terrible novel was named after one of Hopper's paintings, Sun in an Empty Room, New York Movie, Room in New York. Each painting is a sad commentary on life, which was what I was trying to accomplish with disasterous results. Someday I hope to revisit some of the plot elements of that wretched novel, but with an entirely different approach - something less MFA.

I can't wait to see some of these paintings in person. So far I have only had the pleasure of reproductions in coffee table books and a framed poster that hangs above our bed. has posted a slide show essay on Hopper and his work. It's worth checking out. If your only exposure to Hopper is Nighthawks, I implore you to look at his other paintings. While his most famous work is a wonderful study of solitude and despair, it is only a minor reflection of the more heartbreaking and intimate images this great artist was capable of producing.

Sun in an Empty Room, 1963


Christa M. Miller said...

Thanks for this post. I wasn't familiar with Hopper's work beyond "Nighthawks," but I viewed the slideshow. Good stuff.

Stephen Blackmoore said...

I've always loved Hopper's work. Thanks for posting this. Wish I could head out to see it.

Patrick Shawn Bagley said...

Hopper, Kent and Hartley: all great visual/emotional influences for Maine writers.

Stephen D. Rogers said...

I'll have to try to make it in this summer.

Four of my pubbed stories were based on Hooper paintings. Probably the only available on the net is over at Muzzle Flash, "Summertime, 1943." I saw the painting in person at the Delaware Art Museum.

Patrick Shawn Bagley said...

Oh, and Andrew Wyeth of course. I've never cared for Jamie's work, though.

Steve Allan said...

I'm going to see the exhibit the same weekend we're going to see The Police at Fenway! Tres fuckin' cool.