May 9, 2007


SLATE has an incredibly good piece on Edward Hopper this morning. It includes a ten painting slide show and great information about the painter at each location. I would like to show it all but I can't, but you can see it all if you go to:

It was Hopper's best-known work, Nighthawks—which he began painting a few days after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and the blackouts that followed—that made that image a trademark. Hopper was a huge fan of Hemingway's story "The Killers," a violent tale built around terse dialogue in a diner, and a similar air of menace hangs over Hopper's indelible film-noir scenario. Hopper's wife, Jo, a fellow artist he met in 1923, modeled for the hard-faced woman, as she did for nearly all Hopper's female subjects. Her fingers almost touch the beak-nosed "hawk" on her right. Hopper was a supreme poet of anticipation. "The street was too empty," Rilke's Malte wrote; "its emptiness was bored." We don't know what's going to happen in Hopper's empty street, but it's easy to imagine the coiled action hurtling around the corner into the surrounding darkness. Around the time he painted Nighthawks, Hopper copied out a passage from French poet and critic Paul ValĂ©ry about the challenge of making "expectation, doubt, and concentration … visible things."

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