Edward Hopper: Existential LonelinessPosted: January 27, 2014
Edward Hopper 1882-1967 was an American Painter who is known for painting american landscapes and cityscapes. The most well-known of his works is NightHawks 1942, it portrays people sitting in a downtown diner late at night. It is of high interest to me, because it is one of the most famous paintings highlighting urban isolation. His work highlights existential loneliness in the industrial city and portrays how people in cities are lonely because of the emotional disconnection from others.
Every person painting within the work of Edward Hopper appears to be terribly alone. Hopper himself didn’t see the loneliness within his paintings which I find incredibly intriguing. Unlike me, he didn;t set out to create work based around this theme.
“The loneliness thing is overdone.” More likely than “loneliness” is the sense of self as different and apart, feelings not limited to Americans. – Edward Hopper
Edward Hopper gained a widespread reputation as the artist who gave visual form to the loneliness and boredom of city life. There is a stark portrayal of emptiness and loneliness within all of his works. Characteristics that I would like to capture within my own work.
Edward Hopper’s work is highly influential. He captures a sense of loneliness by painting frozen moments. He has focussed on the same sort of themes as I am planning to investigate. People alone in cafe’s, how people are around one another but not interacting, people alone on public transport reading papers (now replaced by modern technologies) and being alone in a room or living by yourself in the city. It is interesting to see how he has captured these observations. There is alot of emotion within his work and unusual lighting which I believe adds to the depiction of feeling lonely. Hopper never painted narratives. It’s up to us to find our own stories within his work. This encourages me not to focus so much on narrative and more on depicting the loneliness itself.