Posts Tagged ‘Edward Hopper New York City’

Alienation and isolation near Washington Square

August 12, 2019

In 1925, Edward Hopper likely went up to the roof of his studio at 3 Washington Square North to complete this painting of the top two stories of an old building.

He ultimately titled it “Skyline, Near Washington Square.”

“The brownstone’s facade is encrusted with Victorian cornices, brackets, arched and square window moulds picked out with heavy shadows,” wrote Gerry Souter in his book, Edward Hopper. “The sides are whitewashed brick seared with sunlight.”

The building is like a dowager of another era, pretty in its day but now isolated, alienated, and stripped of its humanity in the modern urban cityscape.

Or maybe the building is Edward Hopper? Apparently this painting with its “gangly skyscraper” was originally titled “Self-Portrait,” according to Gail Levin’s Edward Hopper: An Intimate Biography.

The man in a concrete wall in the tenement city

April 8, 2019

Edward Hopper spent four decades chronicling the isolation of modern urban life: people unconnected to each other in a cafe, a lone person on an elevated train, and building facades almost empty of humanity.

Yet perhaps none of his paintings are as haunting as “Office in a Small City,” from 1953. Here, Hopper gives us a symbolic everyman with his shirtsleeves rolled up—sitting at a desk inside an office with windows so large it almost resembles a zoo exhibit.

He’s gazing past the tenement tops across the street, ostensibly imagining a bigger life for himself, one not confined by the low-rise cityscape he’s part of right now.

“Reprising one of his signature subjects—a solitary figure, physically and emotionally detached from his surroundings and other people—it was described by the artist’s wife as ‘the man in concrete wall,'” explains the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which has the painting in its collection.

The woman in Edward Hopper’s “Summertime”

July 7, 2017

She’s young and attractive, wearing a summer straw hat and see-through dress that doesn’t blow quite as much as the curtains in the window to her left do.

Stepping out of her tenement entrance and standing at the sidewalk during the summer of 1943, she appears to be waiting—for what?

The writer behind Edwardhopper.net has this take on her, one of the many isolated souls Hopper depicted in New York in the first half of the 20th century. “The outfit, obviously new, refers to the increased prosperity of the nation, which at last had been able to put aside many of the difficulties of the Depression,” states the site.

“She is part of the large group of young American females who had to survive the war years as best they could, years marked by a dearth of eligible young men and an abundance of money accrued from the jobs the war effort engendered.” Perhaps she’s waiting for the war to end, and the life she wants to begin.

The “enigmatic emptiness” of a city sidewalk

October 25, 2012

“Edward Hopper’s haunting realist canvas evokes an enigmatic emptiness that has become the artist’s trademark,” states the caption accompanying this 1924 painting on the website of the Chrysler Museum in Norfolk, Virginia.

“His sparsely populated New York cityscapes, bleak New England views, and lonely interiors share the same stark simplicity.”

“In New York Pavements Hopper used bold cropping, an elevated point of view, strong diagonal lines, and a simple, bleached palette to achieve an odd and detached effect.”

“From a bird’s-eye perspective, the only hint of narrative is the figure emerging from the lower left.”

It’s such an ordinary city scene yet so disquieting. Who is the nun with the baby carriage, and what neighborhood is this?