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Lesson Plans

Edward Hopper

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Lawrence A. Parker/OCCTI (occti)
Tue, 14 Dec 1999 14:10:50 -0500

Lawrence A. Parker
Philosopher and Educational Consultant
The Ohio Center for Critical Thinking Instruction, Inc.
89 Grand Avenue
Akron, OH 44303-1004
330.762.5341 (under reconstruction)

Today's Honorary Subscriber is the painter Edward Hopper
(1882-1967), whose paintings have been praised as some of this century's
finest examples of the realistic tradition of American scene painting. The
site is one of many from
which you can get an idea of the Hopper style. With the keen eye of a
reporter and the sensitivity of a poet, Hopper painted haunting images of
lonely, isolated individuals moving through the dull routines of daily life.
He portrayed them occupying cold offices, decaying houses and desolate hotel
rooms. His landscapes of rural or city settings were bare and starkly
unsentimental compositions.
As a schoolboy, Hopper worked in his father's dry goods store in
Nyack, New York. When in 1899 he announced his intention to become an
artist, his parents persuaded him to train as a commercial illustrator
because of the greater financial security. For the next year he commuted to
New York to study at the Correspondence School of Illustrating. In 1900 he
moved to New York where for six years he studied at the prestigious New York
School of Art. Between 1906 and 1910 he made several trips to Europe but
remained unaffected by such new developments in European art as Fauvism and
cubism. In 1908 he began exhibiting his paintings while living in New York
City, and spending summers in New England.
Hopper sold his first painting at the landmark Armory Show in 1913,
where for the first time Americans saw modern painting. Unfortunately for
Hopper, public interest in realism declined in favor of modernism, leaving
him unable to sell another painting for 10 years and forcing him to make his
living illustrating posters for the Red Cross and Hollywood movies. In 1924
Hopper married Josephine Division, who encouraged him to paint with
watercolors. That same year he was able to hold his first one-man
exhibition. Soon thereafter his work began to receive public acclaim,
enabling him to quit his job as an illustrator.
In 1930 the Museum of Modern Art purchased his House by the Railroad
as the first painting in its permanent collection. In 1932 Hopper was
elected to the National Academy of Design, but he refused the honor because
of the Academy' s earlier rejection of his work. A year later, the Museum of
Modern Art bestowed its highest honor on him by holding a retrospective
exhibition of his paintings.
Except for a short period in the late 1940s when abstract
expressionism overshadowed the realists, Hopper's fame has continued to
grow, fully justifying the 1956 Time cover story presenting him as one of
America's great artists. There are various books and calendars with Hopper
paintings and watercolors. Here's one calendar:

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