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Modern Life: Edward Hopper and His Time

Oct 28, 2010–Apr 10, 2011

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

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

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 Nicholas.

Generous support is provided by Deutsche Bank

Additional support is provided by The Cowles Charitable Trust and The Gage Fund.

Media Partners WNET.ORG and New York magazine

In the News

Review: “The Whitney’s Good Friend is Joined by Some of His”
The New York Times

Video: Curator Barbara Haskell walks through the exhibition
WNET/Thirteen Sunday Arts

Review: “a suberb, intelligent exhibition, intimating the extent to which Hopper was both of his time and spectacularly beyond it.”
The Financial Times

Read all news