Edward Hopper (1882-1967), creator of art that novelist John Updike described as "calm, silent, stoic, luminous, and classic," is one of the most enduring and popular American painters of the 20th century. A pivotal artist who was intensely private, Hopper made solitude and introspection important themes in his paintings, which have been celebrated as a part of the very grain and texture of the American experience.
February 16-May 10, 2008
Regenstein hall and Galleries 262-265
Tickets are required for this exhibition. Art Institute members do not need tickets.
From the time of his first solo museum show at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1933, Edward Hopper was an American icon. Even later in his long career, as other artists began to adopt Abstract Expressionism, he continued to work slowly and methodically in a realist mode, drawing inspiration from both the old Victorian houses of small New England towns and the mundane, quotidian world of the city, featured in such famous paintings as the Art Institute's Nighthawks.
Hopper's compositions offer a frozen moment, a glimpse of life viewed in passing from a moving elevated train or nearby street corner. He was a consummate spectator, showing us fresh views of waitresses through restaurant windows, theatergoers reading playbills, and women in front of windows undressing or staring out into the summer sunlight. His buildings take on a life of their own; their angles, defined by shadows bathed in purple and green, shape his compositions. A superb colorist, Hopper carefully used different hues to structure his landscapes, buildings, and interiors. He successfully combined these lush colors with geometric shapes drawn from Cubism to create his own brand of modernist expression-one evocative of light and mood. His paintings also reflect his love of American literature and film, which filled his canvases with understated drama.
Edward Hopper presents 90 paintings, prints, and watercolors that span the artist's career, emphasizing his most productive years in the 1930s and 1940s. Numerous loans from private collections and institutions make this survey the most important Hopper retrospective seen outside of his native New York City in over a quarter century.