Known for his simplistic and austere style, Edward Hopper’s works represent a realistic perspective on the isolation of American life.
Edward Hopper was born on July 22, 1882 in Nyack, New York, just outside of Manhattan.
His talent for drawing became apparent at a very young age. By the time he was ten years old, Hopper was producing small sketches that he would sign and date.
Following his graduation from high school, Hopper began his formal studies in 1899 at the New York School of Art. At the school he studied under William Merritt Chase and Robert Henri until 1906.
During his first few years at the school, Hopper used himself as a model quite often. He drew several self-portraits as a young man in both pencil and ink.
Between 1906 and 1910 Hopper had made three trips to Europe. Although he had great respect for the Impressionist movement that was occurring in France at the time, it had little influence on his own style. His technique remained highly individualistic, eventually rendering him a forefather of modern art.
Perhaps this individualistic, austere style was the cause of the limited success he was achieving as an artist. By 1910 he had begun working as a commercial artist to earn a living.
It was not until his exhibition at the 1913 Armory Show that Hopper sold his first painting. Still his work continued to excite little interest, and he was forced to work as a commercial illustrator for the next decade.
His marriage to fellow artist Josephine Nivision in the 1920's marked an upswing in his career. He quickly gained a reputation for being the main illustrator of American Scene painting. He was finally recognized for his expressions of the loneliness and stagnation of town and country life.
Beginning in 1921, Hopper's paintings caught the attention of leading critics and dealers and he quickly gained the status of American Realist.
Hopper continued to work in this style for the rest of his life. He never abandoned the realistic themes and images of solitude and isolation. Representation of the images of American town life can be found in such paintings as Room in New York (1932) and the widely-recognized icon of western culture, Nighthawks(1942).
Edward Hopper died on May 15, 1967, in New York City, ending a career that spanned the course of 60 years.