Art, Art Museums, Museum Exhibitions

Edward Hopper at the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, Madrid, June 6-September 18, 2012

Edward Hopper, Self Portrait, 1925-1930
Oil on Linen, 64.1 x 52.3 cm
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

[Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza] The American painter Edward Hopper (Nyack, 1882 – New York, 1967) was one of the foremost exponents of twentieth-century Realism. Although he did not attract the attention of critics or the public for much of his life and was forced to work as an illustrator to earn a living, his works are now icons of modern life and society

Hopper studied at the New York School of Art with William Merrit Chase and Robert Henri. He made several trips to Europe and was interested in European culture and art from a very early age, particularly the work of Edgar Degas and Édouard Manet. (Works by a number of the artists who influenced Hopper are included in this exhibition.)  In 1910 he settled permanently into his New York City home in Washington Square, which, from 1930 onwards, he left only during his summer sojourns in New England, chiefly in Cape Cod, where he had a house built. In 1924 he married Jo Nivinson, who not only posed for him on numerous occasions, but further kept a detailed record of his work throughout his life.

Hopper’s artistic output is relatively small, as he painted at a slow, leisurely pace. He was initially connected with the so-called American Scene, a heterogeneous group of artists who shared the same interest in typically American themes. But Hopper soon developed a personal style of painting. His taciturn nature and austere manner were powerfully reflected in his oeuvre, which is characterised as a whole by its simplified depiction of reality and mastery at capturing contemporary man’s solitude. His painting provides an insight into the America of the Great Depression, which for him symbolised the crisis of modern life


Edward Hopper, “New York Pavements”, 1924 or 1925
Oil on Linen, 62.9 x 75.6 cm
Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, VA


Edward Hopper, “Morning Sun”, 1952
Oil on Linen, 71.4 x 101.9 cm
Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, OH


Hopper’s cinematic handling of scenes and personal use of light are the principle features that set his painting apart. Although he painted a few landscapes and outdoor scenes, most of his works feature public places — such as bars, motels, stations and trains — that are practically empty, in order to underline the loneliness of the people depicted. Hopper further heightens the dramatic effect by means of powerful contrasts of light and shadow.


Edward Hopper, “Hotel By a Railroad”, 1952
Oil on Linen, 79.4 x 101.9 cm
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institute, Washington, D.C.


Edward Hopper, “Conference at Night”, 1949
Oil on Linen, 71.75 x 102.39 cm
Wichita Art Museum, Roland P. Murdock Collection


Hopper’s fame spread considerably towards 1930 as a result of isolationism, though his critical fortunes did not start to grow until his death in 1967, when he began to be acknowledged as one of the Great Masters of twentieth-century art.


Edgar Degas, “Bureau de Coton, New Orleans”, 1873
Oil on Linen, 73 x 92 cm
Musée des Beaux-Arts, Pau, France


Edward Hopper, “Room in New York”, 1932
Oil on Linen, 74.4 x 93 cm
Sheldon Museum of Art, University of Nebraska-Lincoln


The Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid houses the most important collection of Hopper’s work outside the USA.


Edward Hopper, “Girl at a Sewing Machine“, ca. 1921
Oil on canvas. 48.3 x 46 cm
Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid


Edward Hopper, “Marty Welch’s House”, 1928
Watercolor on Paper, 35.6 x 50.8 cm
Private Collection, Courtesy Guggenheim, Asher Associates




2 thoughts on “Edward Hopper at the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, Madrid, June 6-September 18, 2012

  1. Great info and well written, I’m a huge Hopper fan. Did you realize you put a Degas in there?

    Posted by thepurpledogpaintingblog | May 24, 2012, 10:51 pm

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