Edward Hopper is the quintessential American Painter.
A Hopper painting is recognizable immediately from it’s signature style and character.
While many painters of Hopper’s era were blazing paths into Abstract Expressionism, Edward Hopper was taking the contrarian route with Realism.
And nobody does Realism better than Hopper.
Hopper’s Realism verges on Impressionism, having a slightly less rigid approach than other American Realist painters such as Andrew Wyeth, William Merit Chase, or Thomas Eakins.
In my opinion, Edward Hopper could almost be cast with the American Impressionists such as Robert Henri and Frederick Childe Hassam.
Shown in the video below is one of my favorite paintings by Hopper: Lighthouse at Two Lights. This painting is one of the great American masterpieces of the 20th century.
I made this video in New York City at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
In this painting, Hopper uses strong light and cast shadows to show and clearly define the shapes of the lighthouse and the surrounding buildings. The details are mostly suggested and implied and not clearly set out or explained.
There is something magical in this painting that cannot be described with simple words. There is something that only pure genius could approach and apprehend. It is more than the sum of just color and composition and drawing. It is the near perfect balance of all elements of design and color theory coming together into one great work.
Most of Hopper’s great masterpieces now belong in the Whitney Museum of American Art on Madison Avenue in New York City. Most of Hopper’s works were collected by the Whitney’s in the early part of the 20th century. Lighthouse at Two Lights is now owned by the Metropolitan Museum of Art on Fifth Avenue in New York City.
Hopper painted many lighthouses over the course of his long and productive career. Lighthouse at Two Lights will stand as a living testimony to the genius of this great American master.