New York Restaurant by Edward Hopper
By the turn of the last century, American urban painters were beginning to free themselves from the tyranny of the academic tradition. Inspired by Robert Henri and his fellow Ashcan School painters, these urban realists chose their subject matter from life around them, rejecting idealized or prettified subjects. New York City was a source of endless inspiration, and they painted its gritty streets, alleys, and back rooms, as well as genre scenes in parks, theaters, nightclubs, hotels, and restaurants.
Edward Hopper (1882–1967) is widely regarded as one of the great American realists of modern art. Trained by Henri, he is considered an heir of the Ashcan School. His works capture a quintessential view of New York City at a certain time that became part of our cultural fabric. Certainly, many noir films of the 1940s and 1950s reflect Hopper’s personal vision of city life reflected in his paintings: austere, silent, moody, and lonely. Hopper’s oeuvre also includes landscapes which were painted on vacations and road trips.
Art historian Bonita Billman explores the highlights of Hopper’s career and examines the sociopolitical and cultural contexts in which he lived and worked. Drawing on images of such paintings as Automat, Chop Suey, New York Movie, and his iconic all-night diner, Nighthawks, she discusses Hopper’s influences and his enduring relevance.
World Art History Certificate elective: Earn 1/2 credit*
*Enrolled participants in the World Art History Certificate Program receive 1/2 elective credit. Not yet enrolled? Learn about the program, its benefits, and how to register here.