The Mysterious World Of Edward Hopper

"Great art is the outward expression of an inner life of the artist, and this inner life will result in his personal vision of the world.” - Edward Hopper

 Edward Hopper and his sketch book 

Edward Hopper and his sketch book 

Edward Hopper (1882 - 1976), born into a middle class family, is known as one of the most important American realist painters. He started his career, after his studies at the NY School of Art, working as an illustrator. First he achieved recognition for his watercolors and etches before museums got interested in his oil paintings. A travel to Paris and getting in contact with the impressionism defined more Edward Hopper's style. His personal vision of modern American life is reflected in his works.

I think we can see in his work also a reflection of his character: an introvert person, with a hint of melancholy. He didn't like to talk about himself, it was his wife promoting his work. 

 studies, sketches for painting New York Movie

studies, sketches for painting New York Movie

You can find Hopper's  loves for theater and movies in a lot of his sketches and paintings. The dark colors are from the period he was studying at the NY art school, influenced by the European classical painters such as Rembrandt. His first oil painting was inspired by the theater: Solitary Figure in a Theater. (c.1904)

It was only after his trip to Europe in 1906 that his color pallet would shift to lighter colors. 

 New York Movie - 1939 - painting

New York Movie - 1939 - painting

 I remember I once visited an exhibition of his work in Bruxelles and the room was filled with a kind of solitude, loneliness. His dark color palette brings in a certain drama.

 scene out of movie Shirley, Visions of Reality

scene out of movie Shirley, Visions of Reality

Hopper inspired, beside a lot of painters, also photographers, movie directors, and even musicians. Tom Waits got inspired by the painting Nighthawks, when working on his album Nighthawks at Dinner.

 wallpaper Procuratie & Scimmie Fornasetti II  Cole & Son  - Foxtrot Bar Cabinet  Neiman Marcus  - armchair Cloud  Bolia  -Multi Lamp Seletti  La Redoute  - rug SFPOT 1  Jan Kath

wallpaper Procuratie & Scimmie Fornasetti II Cole & Son - Foxtrot Bar Cabinet Neiman Marcus - armchair Cloud Bolia -Multi Lamp Seletti La Redoute - rug SFPOT 1 Jan Kath

If they all can find inspiration in Hopper's work than we can also take a look how we can translate them in our home. Light fixtures such as big standing lamps will help us to bring the spot light on some corner of the room . Comfortable armchairs in dark red velvet will always make us think of movie theaters. And we can create a more dramatic ambiance by adding some iconic elements. Fornasetti will give us a lot of options for add an interesting view on the wall. And go bold when you add a bar or another small pieces of furniture. Remember it is all show.

 House by the Railroad - House out of Hitchcock's movie Psycho 

House by the Railroad - House out of Hitchcock's movie Psycho 

Hopper was influenced by the film noir for his choice of lighting, and framing of his scenes. He also in turn influenced directors such as  Hitchcock , Wim Wenders and others. Don' t you think there is a lot of resemblance between Hopper's painting, House by the Railroad, with the house in Hitchcock's movie Psycho?

 In those paintings you feel the influence of the impressionists. He captured a moment of the day, the cold light in the morning, you can feel the silence, the fresh and crisp air. 

 Edward Hopper - High Noon - color harmony

Edward Hopper - High Noon - color harmony

His first signed painting Rowboat in Rocky Cove dates from the end of the 19th century. And it shows his interest for nautical subjects, one of the themes he would continue throughout his career. The summers he was spending in Cape Cod where he bought a little house and his studio was overlooking the bay.  

 

 painting High Noon - The Yacht Club  Petermax  -  Mariner Lamp via  Remodelista  - suitcases via Pinterest - Marian Metal Counter stool via  Ballard Design

painting High Noon - The Yacht Club Petermax -  Mariner Lamp via Remodelista - suitcases via Pinterest - Marian Metal Counter stool via Ballard Design

Nautical theme is as an evergreen. A perfect choice for a summer house: blue and red paired with crisp white. Some wood elements, taken from the boat, will add warmth and character.

 Edward Hopper - Compartment C Car 1938 - color harmony

Edward Hopper - Compartment C Car 1938 - color harmony

Hopper found his inspiration in nature's rural landscapes, the seaside, and daily American life. Here again we see that he captures the moment. Gas stations, restaurants, movie theaters, street views, all with our without people. He very rarely paints more than one person, and when he does than you can feel the interaction of them with their environment. Hopper is very strong in expressing emotions of solitude, loneliness, regret. Did you also notice that when he is painting figures they often have a book in the hands?  And when he paints more people you feel the underlaying tension between them.

 Casa Cavia Buenos Aires via  Design Pinn  - Hopper's painting - Gregoire Lafforet _ Mireille Herbst ARA Screen via  Designboom  - Staff wall light  Articolo

Casa Cavia Buenos Aires via Design Pinn - Hopper's painting - Gregoire Lafforet _ Mireille Herbst ARA Screen via Designboom - Staff wall light Articolo

Green is one of the colors you will find back often in Hopper's color palette. Using green and blue in an interior will give you a colder but distinctive ambiance. Green will bring a stylish note in combination with grey tones and gold. Green is also easier to use in an interior than blue, it is more versatile. It has some yellow in it which will make you room look more sunny and inviting.

 Morning Sun 1952 - painting Edward Hopper

Morning Sun 1952 - painting Edward Hopper

Hopper's wife Josephine Nivison, was model for a lot of his painting. The women in his paintings, dressed or nude, were often looking out of the window. Moonlight Interior and Girl at Sewing Machine, and Morning Sun are some examples of this window paintings where he emphasizes on the solitude.

In the movie Shirley: Visions of Reality you will see 13 of Hopper's paintings brought alive and telling a part of American histoy in the 30's, 40's, and 50's. 

 Richard Tuschman, “Hopper Meditations” via  Huffington Post

Richard Tuschman, “Hopper Meditations” via Huffington Post

Maybe a lot of artist are inspired by solitude? Take a look at Richard Tushman photogrphs where he recreates Hopper's paintings through photography.

 daybed  Design & After  - mural One World Trade Center from  Murals Wallpaper  - hanging lamp Nuage  La Redoute  - standing lamp  Jielde  - window view via  Flickr

daybed Design & After - mural One World Trade Center from Murals Wallpaper - hanging lamp Nuage La Redoute - standing lamp Jielde - window view via Flickr

Translating this solitude in a room can work well for somebody who likes to to relax, but for others it can be to cold, it will bring up to much emotions. Light fixtures can add drama to the room, through the design of the lamp or through the way it will light the room or put things in the spot lights. Clean and simple forms, light colors and plain fabrics, simple lines to recreate the interiors.

So how can Edward Hopper inspire us:

  • look at his early works for a warn color palet
  • take inspiration from his nautical themed paintings for a summer setting
  • a cold and crips color harmony for contemporary interior
  • look for light fixtures which can put some items in the spot light
  • find inspiration for staging a room

Let Hopper inspire you, wish you a great week.

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