Edward Hopper, Study for Nighthawks (verso), 1941 or 1942, fabricated chalk on paper, 8 7/16 x 11 inches (courtesy of the Whitney Museum of American Art)
Reviewing the exhibition Edward Hopper: Drawing at the Whitney Museum of Art (through October 6), Robin Cembalest takes a closer look at Hopper's preparatory drawings for his iconic painting Nighthawks (1942).
Cembalest notes: "Hopper generally didn’t consider his drawings as art objects that should be exhibited or sold. To him, they were simply studio materials—documents of the process he used to conceive and to plot, in minute detail, the stories he told on his canvases. The Nighthawks drawings reveal how Hopper choreographed his voyeuristic scene of the nighttime convergence of the man, a couple, and a server in the eerie Deco diner, refining every nuance of the countertop, the figures, the architecture, and the effects of the fluorescent lighting. The diner first emerges in a compositional study with just a few slightly diagonal lines intersected by short verticals—just the essence of the painting’s spatial conception. But also present is a serpentine leg of one of the coffee urns, in the upper center. 'This marvelous demonstration of both extreme specificity and near abstract compositional summation on the same surface beguilingly reflects how empirical observation and imagination coexisted in Hopper’s head,' curator Carter E. Foster writes in the catalogue."
Ed Beem reviews the exhibition Edward Hopper's Maine at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art on view through October 16, 2011.
Beem writes that the stars of the exhibition (which was designed by painter Alex Katz) are "30 small oils Hopper did on Monhegan Island over the summers of 1916-19. Littoral jewels, the little Monhegan landscapes, all about a foot in any dimension, are refreshing in their modesty. They are paintings painted for people, not institutions, art meant to be lived with not stored and studied to death."
Painter Robert Anderson considers Edward Hopper's Sun on Prospect Street (Gloucester, Mass), 1934, in the collection of the Cincinnati Museum of Art.
Anderson writes that "The piece is very familiar yet foreign at the same time... the painting pulls you in and makes you stay with it. In its bold use of economy, it opens up the possibility for a greater narrative. Hopper removed all of the superfluous elements of the scene, and shared just enough with the viewer to create a magnificent sense of a common shared experience."
Leslie Anderson blogs about Edward Hopper's inclusion in the 1952 Venice Biennale. She notes that the positive reception of Hopper's work in Europe may be linked to an existing contemplative tradition in European painting beginning with Jan Vermeer and including Hopper's near contemporary, Danish painter Vilhelm Hammershøi.
Anderson quotes Stuart Preston of The New York Times who noted, in his review of the 1952 Biennale, that of the Americans represented "Hopper made the deepest impression. Foreigners recognized, and rightly, something authentically American in the pathos of his landscapes, a germ of loneliness..."
Edited by artist Brett Baker, Painters' Table highlights writing from the painting blogosphere as it is published and serves as a platform for exploring blogs that focus primarily on the subject of painting.