If you are not familiar with Edward Hopper, you ought to take a few minutes to look at his work, even if that means not reading the rest of this post. The beauty in his work is eerie and solitary, but nonetheless striking. What pushes the elegance of his paintings is the strong presence of light. For that reason, it may come as no surprise to you that impressionism had a prominent influence on his work (personally I needed a reminder of this since he’s no Monet or Van Gogh). He began to paint more “impressions” of light and color after his visit to Paris in 1906, only doing so with perhaps more architecture and structure than other famous impressionists.
Hopper’s paintings also have a sort of evocative nostalgia that draws viewers in. His most famous piece, Nighthawks (1942), captured many emotions of the World War II era that people couldn’t really explain, but could definitely feel. The artist recognized this power, explaining: “If you could say it in words, there would be no reason to paint.”
The only Hopper painting in VMFA’s collection is House at Dusk (1935), but it has many key elements of Hopper’s work as a whole. Watch this YouTube video for some quick insight into this piece.
Be sure to check out House at Dusk in the American Art Gallery and, and appreciate Hopper’s finesse for capturing strong light, powerful emotion, and potent images. Happy Birthday Edward Hopper!