Monday, July 2, 2012

Hopper and His Time

I'm rerunning this post on Hopper by special request going out to Wayne.  xxoo

The Pagan Sphinx blog will be on hiatus from 8-28 July. I'm headed across the pond to spend some time with my Portugal family.

All the love,

I wasn't surprised that the The Whitney did not allow photography for their current exhibition  Modern Life: Edward Hopper and His Time because generally speaking, most museums don't allow photography of special exhibitions. What did surprise me is that the entire museum has a no photography rule. The only other museum in NYC that I know of that doesn't allow photos is The Frick. Otherwise The Met, MoMA and The Guggenheim all allow photos of practically everything. The same is true of Massachusetts museums. I did manage to sneak a photo here and there, nonetheless. My only intent being that I enjoy sharing and promoting the art.  :-)  I'll share those sneak peaks with you randomly over the next days, as time allows.

This post attempts to recreate the exhibition with samples I culled from the web. The exhibition wasn't as complete as I'd hoped it would be but having never been to a show that featured so many Hoppers, I really enjoyed it.  I like how the Hopper works where interspersed throughout with the works of his American contemporaries, including the photographers Stieglitz and Strand. Works on canvas by Charles Demuth, Charles Sheeler,  George Bellows and others, place Hopper's settings into a social and historical context.

Edward Hopper 1882-1967, New York Interior, ca. 1921. Oil on canvas, Overall: 24 1/4 × 29 1/4in. (61.6 × 74.3cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Josephine N. Hopper Bequest  70.1200. ©Heirs of Josephine N. Hopper, licensed by the Whitney Museum of American Art. Photograph by Robert E. Mates

 From the Whitney's website:

Modern Life: Edward Hopper and His Time traces the development of realism in American art between 1900 and 1940, emphasizing the diverse ways that artists depicted the sweeping transformations in urban and rural life that occurred during this period. The exhibition highlights the work of Edward Hopper, whose use of the subject matter of modern life to portray universal human experiences made him America’s most iconic realist painter of the 20th century. Drawn primarily from the Whitney Museum’s extensive holdings, Modern Life places Hopper’s achievements in the context of his contemporaries—the Ashcan School painters with whom he came of age as an artist in the century’s first decades, the 1920’s Precisionist artists, whose explorations of abstract architectural geometries mirrored those of Hopper, and a younger generation of American Scene painters, who worked alongside Hopper in New York during the 1930s. Modern Life: Edward Hopper and His Time includes approximately 80 works in a range of media by Hopper and artists such as John Sloan, Alfred Stieglitz, Edward Steichen, Paul Strand, Charles Demuth, Guy Pène du Bois, Charles Sheeler, Charles Burchfield, Ben Shahn, Reginald Marsh. The show is accompanied by a 250-page illustrated catalogue with essays by American and German scholars, produced in conjunction with an exhibition of the same title which appeared at the Bucerius Kunst Forum, Hamburg, and the Kunsthal Rotterdam in 2009-10.
Modern Life: Edward Hopper and His Time is organized by Barbara Haskell and Sasha 

Le Bistro or Wine Shop


 Soir Bleu

 John Sloan
Backyards, Greenwich Village

 Paul Strand
Wall Street

 Charles Demuth
My Egypt

American industrial landscape, machines and architecture that were symbols of growth and prosperity. 
Grain elevators were often over 100 feet tall. Demuth saw the grain elevators as American monuments, equivalent to the pyramids of ancient Egypt. Both structures combine great size and physical beauty.  The pyramids of course were tombs. And their association with life after death might also have appealed to the ailing artist.
When he made this painting in 1927, Demuth was very ill with diabetes and he died 8 years later. He may have also chosen the title because only 5 years earlier archeologists had discovered the tomb of King Tut, and America was fascinated by anything related to Egypt.

 Early Sunday Morning

 The Barber Shop

 Paul Cadmus

Sailors and Floosies

Office at Night

Seven a.m.


  1. I have always adored Hopper. Early Sunday Morning (a print of it) hangs over the bed in our bedroom.

    1. I was going to say the same thing again!! LOL

  2. Wow what amazing images! The only Hopper picture that I was aware of, was called 'Nighthawks'. So thanks for posting more of his work.

  3. I've always loved 'My Egypt'. So jealous you got to see it in person. And then you give me a link to 'Figure 5 in Gold', along with a WCW poem?

    That makes my day.

  4. Great pictures as always, Sphinx!

    Seeing Demuth's Sailors and Floosies I wondered immediately about the possible influence of the picture on the controversial homoerotic artist, Touko Laaksonen (a.k.a. Tom of Finland).

  5. Beautiful, fun and, as always, illuminating!

  6. I'm amazed you came home after only three days. I'm sure it's a show you could have spent weeks exploring.

    The images you've chosen this time are a very nice cross section.

  7. Oh, oh, oh! Edward Hopper. I have a book of his work and have been forunate to see his work in exhibition. The surreal feeling that I experience is awesome.

    Great that you have experienced a collection of his works, too. They stay with you.

  8. Thanks for posting - great quality pictures. I particularly like the Paul Strand painting 'Wall Street'. Despite it's Modernist feel, it reminds me of Brit artist LS Lowry oil paintings (the urban landscapes) in a strange way - where the people appear totally insignificant against the buildings. I'd be interested to see that as a theme in a post sometime!

  9. Thanks, everyone! It's nice to get such a positive response to Hopper and Demuth, etc.

    Spangle - I wish I could comment on your blog but for some reason the embedded comments format won't allow it. If it's all the same to you, you can easily change the settings to "pop-up". Thanks for coming by!

  10. A lot of galleries here do not allow photography. One I have visited recently that does is the Cortauld Gallery, a small but perfectly formed art gallery. Unlike the Nationals or the Tates you can do the whole galery in one go and not feel overloaded!

  11. Loved this hit on all my favorites, I love the NY school of grit and reality...don't see it around lifted my day!

  12. These are all amazing, and me being a hick, they're all new to me. All these years later, and you're still expanding my little world!

    That Strand painting, "Wall Street," totally blew me away.

  13. Aww, thanks, CR! Paul Strand was a photographer. Wall Street is actually a photograph. An amazing one. Impossible to get that effect with digital, unless it's doctored with photoshop...even then, I'm not sure. I don't use photoshop, so I'm sure. Even if one were to try to take photos that looked like Strand's or any other old master of photography, no one would look twice. It just doesn't resonate in the same way.

    Thanks as always, for your comments. You are not a hick, silly!

  14. Hope you enjoy yourself in Portugal, I know I do. best wishes

  15. I have a small porfolio of Hopper posters and post cards
    I love them

    Hope you're having a wonderful time across the pond

  16. I hadn't realized these had been posted again. It truly is a wonderful collection.

    Glad to know you're home safe and sound.

  17. looking forward to hearing about the trip
    was thinking of you


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