Early Influences: Edward Hopper

Soir Bleu 1914 by Edward Hopper

Years ago, while researching painters as a component for the A-Level Art curriculum, I became very influenced by the work of the American realist painter, Edward Hopper. Hopper’s work is very photographic and minimal. A lot of his later famous paintings were of New York scenes and I was very interested in the way he carefully arranged figures in his paintings, notably in works such as Chop Suey (1929) and Nighthawks (1942). The street scenes were very cinematic and had a geometrical quality about them. Famous directors like Alfred Hitchcock paid homage to Hopper and his influences can be seen in the film Psycho. Bates’ Motel is clearly modelled on The House by the Railroad (1925). I was more influenced by his composition and the way his images, especially in his work in the  30s and 40s, seemed uncluttered and stylish. Until I started to broaden my ideas on an Art Foundation course, I was very photographic in my approach to pictorial art. Pictured is my favourite Hopper painting, Soir Bleu (1914) . I just adore the character study. Actually, it’s contrary to a lot of Hopper’s work I like as it’s not an urban/rural scene, has more than one person in the scene and was painted when visiting Europe early in his career.

2 Replies to “Early Influences: Edward Hopper”

    1. Hi Pete, Yea I see what you mean about Gregory Crewdson’s work having Hopperesque characteristics (i.e. some of his photographs feature one central character in an interior). Crewdson employs similar voyeurism to Hopper in his approach. By the way, I didn’t know much about Crewdson’s stuff so cheers for the heads-up. Here’s one for you, I like photojournalism. Have you checked out, Bill Owens’ Suburbia 1973?

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