Gazing Into The Art Of Edward Hopper

Famous with his paintings of isolation, Edward Hopper is one of the most influential people in the arts. He is described both as an abstract impressionist, and as a realist. His works almost always depicted individuals in urban areas, and they were layered with poetic meanings. 


Edward Hopper, Cape Cod Morning, 1950.

Narration In Hopper’s Paintings

His main focus point was the human experience in modern world. Usually, his paintings portray minimal movement, and even though they are all in an urban setting, they do not contain the fast-paced mobility or life. Although Hopper’s work was associated with loneliness and isolation in the modern world, he didn’t like that interpretation for all of his work. It is known that he said “The loneliness thing is overdone. It formulates something you don’t want formulated.”, to his friend Brian O’Doherty.


Edward Hopper, Gas, 1940.


Hopper lets the viewer to narrate the story, and though he doesn’t fancy his work being narrated only about the way modern world isolated people, his subject matters and his environments are usually removed from all life except themselves. They are removed from the context of their life, too! Hopper’s paintings of people do not include their emotions and thoughts, that void can only be filled by how the viewer is narrating their story. His works are a beautiful case of people-watching.


Edward Hopper, Room In New York.

One-way Gaze

Some clues about how the people in his paintings live or what they did, and what they will do next are sometimes given.  For example in his painting called Automat, the viewers can see that the woman has only one glove on, as if she just took a quick stop and she will quickly move on to whatever she was going to do. Additionally, Automat is a beautiful example of the way Hopper’s paintings are “observations”. We see in the frame the parts of a chair, it creates an ambiance as if you are sitting at another table and watching the woman drink her coffee.


Edward Hopper, Automat, 1927.


People-watching theme continues with his other paintings as well, though the subject matter is never aware that they are being observed.


Edward Hopper’s Use of Light and Intimacy

Light is the other big theme in Hopper’s art. His use of light is very unique and revolutionary. Light works as a direction in his paintings. It directs your gaze to where you should observe, and it sets the scene of intimacy.


Artwork by Edward Hopper.


His use of light inspired many more that come after him, along with the cinematographic arts around the time.

To get more biographical information about Hopper, and to see more of his works click here.

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