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Edward Hopper: American Modernist

Evening Program

Thursday, October 22, 2020 - 6:30 p.m. ET
Code: 1M2078S
$30 - Member
$35 - Non-Member
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"Nighthawks", 1942, by Edward Hopper (Art Institute of Chicago)


  • This program is part of our Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.
  • Platform: Zoom
  • Online registration is required.
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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 backrooms, as well as genre scenes in parks, theatres, nightclubs, and cafes.

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.

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*


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*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.

This program is part of our
Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.