Edward Hopper’s America

“A brief description on Hopper’s attitude towards change in the United States during the 20th Century”

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Edward Hopper’s America

Fabio Sansone, Reporter

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Background:

Edward Hopper was an American artist from Upper Nyack in New York State. He is best known for his oil paintings, but was also an able printmaker and watercolorist. His works often illustrate the drastic changes America went through during the 20th Century through a very neutral and objective point of view. Hopper mostly depicts countryside scenery and some New York City metro areas, through a clear use of light and contrast. His focus was on capturing the calm in certain pieces so that the audience could find a certain harmony and relaxation through his work. His brush strokes are extremely smooth and light in order to increase the sense of a still image.

 

 Railroad Sunset, 1929 - Whitney Museum of American Art, NY

 

A Changing America:

During the 20th Century, the United States slowly rose to become the world’s greatest power, ultimately developing into a major industrialized nation. The general public saw this as a golden age of technology and growth, but Hopper looked at the change through a very humanistic and humble point of view. He overlooks the socio-economic changes, instead depicting the new steel and iron infrastructure, the jungles of concrete buildings which fill up the metro areas, the massive bridges, roads, and highways that shape and connect this “new” America. This massive cityscape revolution is one of the reasons Edward Hopper’s favorite focus was the American countryside. He found a certain harmony in visiting these lonely, and quite nostalgic areas, as Hopper himself grew up in these regions of the United States. He was able to create a picturesque scenery of silence and loneliness hardly ever to be found again in American art history.