Edward Hopper on New York


Modern Life: Edward Hopper and His Time up at the Whitney traces the development of realism in American art between 1900 and 1940, with a focus on developments in urban and rural life that occurred during this period and the museum’s extensive holdings of Hopper. I had been quite looking forward to it, and left with a rather threadbare, uninspired impression. Perhaps because of the wider nature of the exhibition, I didn’t really get the feel and understanding of Hopper’s work that I would have liked (except perhaps that it stood head and shoulders over the contemporaries of his that were on view). I liked Hopper, and perhaps understood more about him, a bit better after this video:

New York Window

Scenes like the one above, simple and relatable, showed the artist at his best. The one above left me with the feeling I often get in the old tenements buildings of how little has changed for people living in them. The isolation of the figures in his cityscapes and the lamp lit night scenes are so ascetically bare and realistic that they remove themselves from sentimentality.

New York Room

New York Office
New York Movie


4 thoughts on “Edward Hopper on New York

  1. Hopper has such a special place in my heart. I use to work at the Edward Hopper House Art Center in Nyack, which is his birth house-cum-gallery. The will be having a retrospective on Hopper this summer- it looks really interesting. The Whitney will be loaning them never seen work.

  2. I rather enjoyed the exhibit at the Whitney because it put Hopper’s work into context. We all love him for his melancholy views of New York City life but when juxtaposed with the Ash Can artists and his teacher, Robert Henri it reinforced Hopper’s uniqueness and charm.

  3. Hopper has so many fans! Maybe we should all try to see retrospective in Nyack?

    I take your point, Melanie, that providing context for his work is a really useful point of this exhibition.

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