During Wednesday’s Seminar, we looked at approximately twelve of Edward Hopper’s timeless pieces that belong to the Whitney Museum of Art. Hopper’s paintings all exhibit a certain degree of modern realism. He tends to paint characters in everyday poses, except the viewer is looking in from a hidden angle. The spectators are basically outsiders gazing in.
The first painting we looked at was called “American Landscape”. There we see Hopper’s realism come into play, through the regular farmland look. There are bulls, cows, and even some hay. There are some train tracks going between the house and animals. It goes on to represent early or rural America as having a calm and peaceful lifestyle.
When I first read “Ways of Seeing”, I didn’t really think much of it. However, the more we discuss it in class, I begin to see the wisdom behind the words. It actually means much more, once you start to analyze artwork with the book ideas in mind.
The moment I looked at “The Night Interior”, I thought this is a girl who is getting ready for a party that is taking place in the 20’s. However, when Professor Kahan analyzed it with the class, I began to notice the inner details of the picture. We get to make little assumptions about the character through minor details like the uneven colors in her skin tone, which revealed that she was actually struggling to make a living. She seemed alone and living a harsh life. Next I noticed where the viewer was looking in from, and it appeared that we are actually eavesdropping in on a private moment.
After looking at many of Hopper’s paintings, I noticed that he usually painted a lot of urban scenery. Most of his paintings included people, who were specifically placed at strategic places. Edward Hopper painted landscapes where one character often seemed lonely. They seemed bored or tired of the hard life in the city, but in the countryside, life appeared serene. He expressed loneliness in the city during the 1920’s, maybe even expressing the hopelessness during the early Great Depression.