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Edward Hopper
Photo of Edward Hopper.jpg
Born (1882-07-22)July 22, 1882
Nyack, New York, United States
Died May 15, 1967(1967-05-15) (aged 84)
Manhattan, New York, United States
Nationality American
Known for Painting
Notable work
Automat (1927)
Chop Suey (1929)
Nighthawks (1942)
Office in a Small City (1953)

Edward Hopper (July 22, 1882May 15, 1967) was an American painter and printmaker best remembered for his realistic depictions of loneliness in modern American life. While most popularly known for his oil paintings, he was also a watercolorist and printmaker in etching.


Edward Hopper House
Childhood home of Edward Hopper in Nyack, New York

Born in Nyack, New York, Hopper studied commercial art and painting in New York City. One of his teachers, artist Robert Henri, encouraged his students to use their art to "make a stir in the world". Henri, who influenced Hopper, motivated students to render realistic depictions of urban life. Henri's students, many of whom developed into important artists, became known as the Ashcan School of American art.

"Vase" Earliest Signed Drawing by Edward Hopper
Vase (1893), example of Edward Hopper's earliest signed and dated artwork with attention to light and shadow.

Upon completing his formal education, Hopper made three trips to Europe to study the emerging modern art there, but unlike many of his fellow artists who imitated the abstract cubist experiments, the idealism of the realist painters resonated with Hopper. His early projects reflect the realist influence.

House by the Railroad (1925)

While he worked for several years as a commercial artist, Hopper continued painting. In 1925 he produced House by the Railroad, a classic work that marks his artistic maturity. The piece is the first of a series of stark urban and rural scenes that uses sharp lines and large shapes, played upon by unusual lighting to capture the lonely mood of his subjects. He derived his subject matter from the common features of American life — gas stations, motels, the railroad, or an empty street.

Hopper continued to paint in his old age, dividing his time between New York City and Truro, Massachusetts. He died in 1967, in his studio near Washington Square, in New York City. His wife, painter Josephine Nivison, who died 10 months later, bequeathed his work to the Whitney Museum of American Art. Other significant paintings by Hopper are at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, The Des Moines Art Center, and the Art Institute of Chicago.



Nighthawks by Edward Hopper 1942
Nighthawks (1942)

The best known of Hopper's paintings, Nighthawks (1942), shows customers sitting at the counter of an all-night diner. The diner's harsh electric light sets it apart from the gentle night outside. The diners, seated at stools around the counter, appear isolated.

Gas (1940)

Hopper's rural New England scenes, such as Gas (1940), are no less meaningful. In terms of subject matter, he can be compared to his contemporary, Norman Rockwell, but while Rockwell exulted in the rich imagery of small-town America, Hopper depicts it in the same sense of forlorn solitude that permeates his portrayal of city life. Here too, Hopper's work exploits vast empty spaces, represented by a lonely gas station astride an empty country road and the sharp contrast between the natural light of the sky, moderated by the lush forest, and glaring artificial light coming from inside the gas station.

Famous Works

Edward hopper chop suey
Chop Suey (1929)
Automat (1927)
  • "Night Shadows" (1921) (etching)
  • House by the Railroad (1925)
  • Automat (1927)
  • Night Windows (1928)
  • Chop Suey (1929)
  • Early Sunday Morning (1930)
  • The Long Leg (1935)
  • House at Dusk (1935)
  • Compartment C, Car 293 (1938)
  • New York Movie (1939)
  • Ground Swell (1939)
  • Gas (1940)
  • Office at Night (1940)
  • Nighthawks (1942)
  • Rooms for Tourists (1945)
  • Rooms by the Sea (1951)
  • Morning Sun (1952)
  • Office in a Small City (1953)
  • Excursion into Philosophy (1959)
  • People in the Sun (1960)
  • Sun in an Empty Room (1963)
  • Chair Car (1965)

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