An artist uses his style to make the painting recognizable as his own. The style is like his signature and can be a slight reflection of him. This is true for Edward Hopper’s paintings as well. When reviewing Edward Hopper’s collection, one may notice a common pattern and theme throughout his work. Hopper seems to paint scenes with which most people can relate to. Whether it is a depiction of a late night in the bar or of a farmhouse by the tracks, Hopper gives viewers a taste of typical American life. This is accomplished in a way that makes the viewer feel like he is watching the subject’s life as it happens. We, the audience, are somewhat eavesdropping on other people’s everyday activities without their consent or knowledge.
This style is evident in all of Hopper’s work. In “New York Interior”, we are introduced to a young woman who appears to be sewing in her room. Yet we only get a glimpse of the woman’s back. Unlike the “Mona Lisa”, whose gaze is directed back at us, this woman is unaware of her audience and is just engrossed in her regular activities. While the subject of “The Mona Lisa” is posing and appears to be dressed and groomed to impress, the woman in “New York Interior” remains oblivious of onlookers. This way, the audience feels like they are getting an unbiased and unaltered view of American life; we are seeing the scenes exactly as they are, with no sugar coating. Even in “American Landscape”, where there are no people in the scene, the cows in the painting have their backs to the audience and are not aware that they are being watched.
Similarly, in “A Woman in the Sun”, the audience is spying on a woman who appears to have just gotten out of bed and is warming in the sun before she dresses and proceeds with her day. This woman’s gaze is not directed at us. She, too, does not know she has an audience and would probably have had her door closed; yet we are in the room with her and can witness this private moment.
When Chris showed the class his own photography and style, he announced that he keeps his pictures “real.” He does not tell the subjects where to stand or how to pose. He takes the pictures as they are really happening and allows us to share in their real experiences. Like Chris, Hopper creates paintings that are “real.” The audience can see events as they are happening with no added bias from the painter or pretense from the subject. The scene is not merely art. It is real life.