Edward Hopper, an American Realist painter whose highly individualistic works are a benchmark of American realism, epitomizes an art awareness that eerily depicts contemporary American life as characterized by isolation, melancholy, and loneliness.Birth and childhoodEdward was born on July 22, 1882, in the small Hudson River town of Nyack, New York. Hopper knew that he wanted to be an artist as early as 1899, the year of his 17th birthday.He first attended a school of commercial art and illustration in New York City, New York, in 1899. The chief instructor was William Merritt Chase (1849-1916), a painter who imitated the style of John Singer Sargent. He and his fellow students were urged to develop a realistic style, depicting urban culture.Early careerAs many young artists do, Hopper wanted to study in France. In October 1906, his wish was fulfilled when, with his parents' aid, he left for the Continent. However, after those trips, he never again sojourned in Europe.Hopper was greatly moved by the works of Diego Velazquez, Francisco de Goya, Honore Daumier, and Edouard Manet. His early paintings exhibited some of the basic Realism characteristics that he would carry all the way through his career, a balanced, combinative style based on simple, large analytical forms; broad areas of color, and the use of architectural fundamentals in his scenes.For many years, memories of days abroad dominated Hopper's painting style. Following that attempt, Hopper renewed his efforts by using homegrown American subjects, for which he is remembered most.Edward Hopper made his first sale in 1913, at an exposition in New York. For several years after he turned 37, Hopper earned a living as a commercial illustrator.MarriageIn 1923, Josephine Nivison, whom he had known when they were students under Chase and Henri, entered his life once more. The same year they married, the winds of fortune changed for Hopper.Later careerEdward Hopper's banner year was 1924. Hopper’s career took off and would be remarkably unaffected by The Great Depression of the Thirties. Edward Hopper had made his mark on the world.The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) held a 1929 exhibition, Paintings by Nineteen Living Americans, which included Hopper's work. Although his work lay outside the mainstream of mid-20th-century abstraction, his simplified schematic style was one of the influences on the later representational revival, and on pop art.Latter daysHopper worked into his old age, dividing his time between New York City and Truro, Massachusetts. Edward Hopper's fame did not endure as his muse dried up. His wife, who died 10 months later, bequeathed his work to the Whitney Museum of American Art.In 2004, the world remembered and honored Hopper when many of his paintings toured Europe, stopping at the Museum Ludwig, Cologne, Germany, and at the Tate Modern Art Gallery in London. The Hopper exhibition became the second most popular in the latter gallery's history, with more than 400,000 visitors in the three months it was open.
See also Andrew Wyeth and Jackson Pollock.