Edward Hopper: the most famous works of the American painter
Edward Hopper wins hands down the prize for the most instagrammable artist of this period. First there was the lockdown, so well represented by some of his Cape Cod landscapes, with white houses with an apparently composed and clean air, and restless women at the window, constantly waiting for who knows what. A bit like us.
This narrative on canvas in perfect Covid-style it works even now that we are about to enter the so-called phase 3: that of reopening, in strict respect for social distancing. We take Nighthawks, the Night owls, perhaps his most famous painting (it was made in 1942): there are four individuals at the counter of a bar, in fact they represent the quintessence of incommunicability and loneliness (we also talked about it here)
Well, a few days ago until the end of July, the paintings of the American Edward Hopper (1882–1967) stop being just digital images and return to the exhibition in Switzerland, near Basel, where the Fondation Beyeler had set up an intriguing exhibition dedicated to the American artist in February after a few weeks it causes a pandemic. In Switzerland, museums have now reopened – in Italy gradually, from 18 May – and the unmistakable atmosphere of Hopper deserve, for those who can or will do so in the future, a meeting vis-a-vis.
Born in Nyack, New York to a family who would have liked him a naval architect, Edward Hopper he throws himself on the drawing and on the illustration: it is Josephine’s ringworm, for all Jo, who was his wife-muse-model to transform him into one of the most original painters of his time (and also appreciated, even if public applause gave Urticaria to Hopper).
Second floor in the sun, 1960
© Robert Gerhardt and Denis Y. Suspitsyn
Today his art continues to enchant us for a thousand reasons: his paintings (service stations, houses, bars, lighthouses and ships, but also glimpses of the interiors of apartments, hotels and cinemas) they seem perpetually current, the colors seem to come out of a digital palette, the light is similar to that of cinema, the (few) portrayed characters always look out of the pictorial space (and each time we find ourselves wondering what is going on, “beyond”, which we cannot see …).
How amazed that he bewitched so many directors? Alfred Hitchcock chose the villa of Psycho thinking of the white Victorian houses portrayed by Hopper (while the stained glass windows inspired The window on the courtyard), the wild landscapes drove Kevin Costner in his Dance with wolves, deserted motels are mentioned in the David Lynch films.
And then there is Wim Wenders, which has a lot to do with the exhibition at Beyeler, which is dedicated in particular to boundless landscapes of urban and rural America. The director of Paris, Texas and it’s The sky above Berlin contributed to the exhibition by creating the 3D short film Two or three things I know about Edward Hopper, in which he imagines giving life and movement to some Hopperian characters and landscapes on canvas.
The result is a poignant story of love and abandonment, watch the trailer:
«The thing that strikes me most about Hopper’s painting is that observing his paintings it always seems that something must happen that in the end never happens. Precisely this tension that the viewer must interpret is the strength of Hopper’s work. His paintings attract to infinity and I have tried to reproduce this sensation with 3D shooting, “said the director. Other than two or three things: Wim Wenders knows a lot about Edward Hopper.
Top: Cape Cod, 1950
Wim Wenders (photo courtesy Francesca Amé)