Hopper, Edward

Hopper, Edward Biography

U.S. painter whose realistic depictions of everyday urban scenes shock the viewer into recognition of the strangeness of familiar surroundings. Edward Hopper's oil paintings are characterized by isolation, melancholy, and loneliness.Hopper strongly influenced the Popart and New Realist painters of the 1960s and 1970s.

Hopper was born on July 22, 1882, in Nyack, New York, and studied illustration in New York City at a commercial art school from 1899 to 1900. Around 1901 he switched to oil painting and studied at the New York School of Art until 1906, largely under Robert Henri. He made three trips to Europe between 1906 and 1910 but remained unaffected by current French and Spanish experiments in cubism.

Most of his oil paintings portray scenes in New York or New England, both country and city scenes, all with a spare, homely quality-deserted streets, half-empty theaters, gas stations, railroad tracks, rooming houses. One of Hopper's best-known works, Nighthawks (1942, Art Institute of Chicago), shows an all-night cafe, its few uncommunicative customers illuminated in the pitiless glare of electric lights.

Although Hopper's artwork was outside the mainstream of mid-20th-century abstraction, his simplified schematic style was one of the influences on the later representational revival and on pop art. He died May 15, 1967, in New York City.

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