Edward Hopper: Existential Loneliness

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.

Nighthawks 1942

edward hopper

Automat 1927

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 slide

room in brooklyn

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.


2 Comments on “Edward Hopper: Existential Loneliness”

  1. daezle says:

    Great thoughts. Isn’t it interesting that Hopper wasn’t interested in loneliness, or at least wasn’t conscious of it? That’s often the case with art. Have you read “A Clean , well-lighted Place” by Hemingway? It’s a really short story and fits right in there with your exploration of loneliness and cafes. It’s almost like a Hopper or Van Gogh’s ‘Night Cafe’, but in written form. Great post, thanks!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s