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 was 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 people 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 the 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. It’s contrary to a lot of Hoppers work I like as it’s not a street/countryside scene, has more than one person in the scene and was painted when visiting Europe early in his career. It’s been my p.c. wallpaper image for years. I just can’t seem to get bored with it.

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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