Artists

Edward Hopper
1882–1967



Audio

  • Where We Are

    Edward Hopper, Early Sunday Morning, 1930

    Edward Hopper, Early Sunday Morning, 1930

    0:00

    Art Spiegelman: Hopper's a regionalist and I've always liked the American regionalists like Reginald Marsh and Grant Wood. But the region that Hopper occupies is basically the desolate inner landscape of America.

    And in Early Sunday Morning, I also was aware of how thoroughly related this is to my medium, comics. You know the word comics is kind of a misnomer and in Portuguese, I've discovered, they are called quadrenos, little boxes. And basically Hopper's a painter of little boxes. He takes his little box, he subdivides it into other boxes.

    So I think of Early Sunday Morning as a comic strip before the Sunday sun comes up. The boxes before they're fully inhabited. Some people sleeping, some people just sort of brushing their teeth, at best. The stores not activated and therefore full of a kind of sad potential.

    It looks like the barbershop pole is sort of already tipping its bulb to the little fire hydrant. It's kind of like the CP3O and R2D2 of 1930. This kind of mechanized urban, but very alive, possibly as least as alive as the people living behind those windows might be creatures.

    And it kind of makes a mournful song, even though it's morning.

  • Where We Are

    Edward Hopper, Early Sunday Morning, 1930

    Edward Hopper, Early Sunday Morning, 1930

    0:00

    Narrator: All you’re looking at here is a block of brick storefronts with apartments above them. The title, Early Sunday Morning, may explain the emptiness of the street, but it can’t explain the emotional pull of the painting.

    When Edward Hopper made this image in 1930, he based it on a real street he knew—Seventh Avenue South in Greenwich Village. But he’s made it look like any main street in any small town anywhere in America. Notice the storefront windows. They have lettering on them, yet Hopper doesn’t let you make out what the letters say. Hopper is an artist of universals, not particulars; he doesn’t want to be that specific.

    Now look up at the windows on the second floor. Begin at the left. A yellow shade is drawn; another is half raised; further along, some of the windows are covered with darker window coverings; to the right, a few more have decorative curtains. Each is slightly different, hinting at a life being lived beyond our view. In this small detail, Hopper makes us acutely aware that the people are missing from the picture. As a result, the painting communicates a sense of loneliness.

    At the upper right corner of the canvas, a small dark rectangle rises above the building—the suggestion of a skyscraper in the background. It doesn’t catch your eye at first, but once you notice it, the tall building changes the whole picture. A threat overshadows the otherwise quiet street. Sooner or later the juggernaut of commerce and technology will eradicate a small-town way of life.

  • Where We Are, Spanish

    Edward Hopper, Early Sunday Morning, 1930

    Edward Hopper, Early Sunday Morning, 1930

    0:00

    Art Spiegelman: Siempre me han gustado los regionalistas estadounidenses como Reginald Marsh y Grant Wood. Pero la región que ocupa Hopper es, básicamente, el paisaje desolado del interior Estados Unidos.

    En Early Sunday Morning, también tuve en cuenta la estrecha relación que esto mantiene con mi medio, el cómic. Como ustedes saben, la palabra cómic en cierto sentido es poco apropiada; he descubierto que, en portugués, se los llama quadrenos, o cajitas. Y Hopper es, básicamente, un pintor de cajitas. Toma su cajita y la subdivide en otras cajas.

    Así que yo entiendo Early Sunday Morning como una tira cómica que plasma el momento anterior a que salga el sol el domingo. Las cajas anteriores están completamente habitadas. Algunos duermen, otros quizás se estén lavando los dientes, como mucho. Las tiendas no están activas todavía y, por lo tanto, rebosan de un potencial triste. 

    Pareciera que el poste de la barbería ya está inclinándose hacia la pequeña boca de incendio. Ambos son como el CP3O y el R2D2 de los años treinta. Este tipo de urbanismo mecanizado pero, a la vez, lleno de vida; posiblemente, tan lleno de vida como la gente que vive detrás de esas ventanas, que podrían ser criaturas.

    Y, de alguna manera, compone una canción triste, aun cuando es por la mañana.

  • Where We Are, Kids, Spanish

    Edward Hopper, Early Sunday Morning, 1930

    Edward Hopper, Early Sunday Morning, 1930

    0:00

    Mark Joshua Epstein: Esta pintura se llama Early Sunday Morning y fue realizada por Edward Hopper. ¿Qué les llama la atención sobre ella?

    Estudiante 1: Pareciera que todo está cerrado, todas las tiendas y las ventanas están cerradas y no se ve a nadie en la calle.

    Estudiante 2: Yo creo también que realmente parece una mañana porque las sombras son alargadas.

    Estudiante 1: Muestra la quietud de la mañana cuando acaba de salir el sol y todo el mundo está todavía en la cama.

    Estudiante 2: Me preguntaba si… Creo que los letreros están borrosos a propósito para dejar que imaginemos qué tiendas serían. 

    Mark Joshua Epstein:  Edward Hopper dijo que esta pintura estaba inspirada en una parte de la Séptima Avenida, que corre de norte a sur en Nueva York, y me pregunto: ¿alguno nota algo raro con respecto a las sombras?

    Estudiante 1: Dado que el sol sale del este al oeste y que la calle corre de norte a sur, es algo raro porque pensaría que las sombras tendrían que estar horizontales y no verticales. 

    Mark Joshua Epstein: ¿Alguno de ustedes cree posible que esta pintura sea el resultado de una combinación entre observación e imaginación?

    Estudiante 2: Yo creo que sí porque las sombras no son muy realistas… La pintura es como realista pero algunas cosas son casi extrañas.

  • Where We Are, Spanish

    Edward Hopper, Early Sunday Morning, 1930

    Edward Hopper, Early Sunday Morning, 1930

    0:00

    Narrador: Todo lo que vemos aquí es una cuadra de frentes de ladrillo en la que hay tiendas a pie de calle y apartamentos en el primer piso. El título, Early Sunday Morning, podría explicar la calle vacía; sin embargo, no explica la tensión emocional que desprende la pintura. Observe más de cerca.

    Cuando Edward Hopper creó esta imagen en 1930, se inspiró en una calle verdadera que conocía: la Séptima Avenida Sur de Greenwich Village. No obstante, le dio el aspecto que podría tener cualquier calle principal de cualquier pueblecito de cualquier rincón de los Estados Unidos. Fíjese en las vidrieras de las tiendas: tienen carteles. Sin embargo, Hopper no nos permite descifrar lo que dicen. Hopper es un artista de universales, no de particulares; no quiere ser específico.

    Ahora fíjese en las ventanas del primer piso, comenzando por la izquierda. Una cortina amarilla está baja; otra, medio abierta; más hacia el centro, algunas de las ventanas están cubiertas con postigos más oscuros; a la derecha, otras más tienen cortinas decorativas. Cada ventana tiene algo ligeramente distinto y estas distinciones sugieren una vida que se desarrolla más allá de nuestro campo de visión. Con este pequeño detalle, Hopper nos hace muy conscientes de que no hay personas en la pintura y, como resultado, esta transmite una sensación de soledad.

    En la parte superior derecha del lienzo, vemos un pequeño rectángulo oscuro que se eleva sobre el edificio: la sugerencia de un rascacielos en el fondo. En principio, no llama la atención, pero una vez que uno lo ve, el edificio alto cambia la escena por completo. Una amenaza ensombrece esta calle por lo demás tranquila. Tarde o temprano, el gigante que componen el comercio y la tecnología erradicará la forma de vida pueblerina.

  • Where We Are, Kids

    Edward Hopper, Early Sunday Morning, 1930

    Edward Hopper, Early Sunday Morning, 1930

    0:00

    Mark Joshua Epstein: This painting is called Early Sunday Morning and it was made by Edward Hopper. What do you notice about it?

    Student 1: Well, it looks like everything is closed, and all the shops and the windows are closed, and it doesn’t look like anybody is on the street.

    Student 2: I think that it also really looks like a morning because of the way that the shadows are long.

    Student 3: It shows the stillness of the morning when the sun just comes up, everybody is still in bed.

    Student 4: I’m wondering if, I think the words were blurred on purpose to let you imagine what the shops would be.

    Mark Joshua Epstein: Edward Hopper said that this painting was based on a part of Seventh Avenue, which is a north-south Street in New York, and I’m wondering if anyone notices something funny about the shadows.

    Student 1: When the sun rises like east-west and when the street’s sky is north-south, it’s kind of weird, because you think the shadows would be going horizontally rather than vertical.

    Mark Joshua Epstein: Does anyone think it’s possible that this painting is a result of a combination of observation with imagination?

    Student 1: I think yes because the shadows aren’t very realistic. It’s like realistic but then some things are like a little bit off, almost.

  • 99 Objects

    June 29, 2015
    Adam Weinberg on Early Sunday Morning by Edward Hopper

    June 29, 2015
    Adam Weinberg on Early Sunday Morning by Edward Hopper

    0:00

  • America Is Hard to See

    Edward Hopper, Early Sunday Morning, 1930

    Edward Hopper, Early Sunday Morning, 1930

    0:00

    Carter Foster: I was able to identify the building that Hopper was looking at that inspired the painting, through old photographs. 

    Narrator: Carter Foster is the Steven and Ann Ames Curator of Drawing at the Whitney.

    Carter Foster: What's interesting about the painting is how Hopper both stretched out the building and condensed it the same time. It sounds paradoxical and it sort of is. But what he did was he added an extra bay, an extra window, so that sort of elongates the top of the structure. But he also added another shop opening in the bottom part, so that you get this compression. You get smaller doors and windows than were actually there.

    He sets off that sense of compression with this very prominent barber pole, which I have to read as a stand-in for a human being, and perhaps a stand-in for Hopper himself, who was actually tall and, in fact, by this time, bald. 

    So you get this face-off between this solid, familiar but mundane building and this very brightly lit barber pole in this kind of masterful composition, perhaps of which the main subject is light and the way light plays off the built urban environment. 

    Narrator: One of the most important details in Early Sunday Morning is something you might not notice right away—the dark square in the upper right corner. A larger building was going up when Hopper was working on the painting. Its looming silhouette suggests the rapid urbanization and modernization that was transforming the city.

  • Hopper Drawing

    Edward Hopper, Early Sunday Morning, 1930

    Edward Hopper, Early Sunday Morning, 1930

    0:00

    Carter Foster: A building very much like Early Sunday Morning forms the background of Nighthawks. Early Sunday Morning represents daytime. Nighthawks represents nighttime. 

    Here, the overarching subject matter would be times of day and the passing of time, day to night. It's also about memory and the way that the urban environment changes. I think that we can look at the paintings together and they enrich each other and give us a larger context that Hopper was thinking about when he made both works. 

  • Hopper Drawing

    Edward Hopper, Early Sunday Morning, 1930

    Edward Hopper, Early Sunday Morning, 1930

    0:00

    Carter Foster: Early Sunday Morning was significant for this exhibition because in doing early research, I was able to identify the building that Hopper was looking at that inspired the painting, through old photographs. 

    Narrator: You can see one of those photographs on your screen.

    Carter Foster: What's interesting about the painting is how Hopper both stretched out the building and condensed it the same time. It sounds paradoxical and it sort of is. But what he did was he added an extra bay, an extra window, so that sort of elongates the top of the structure. But he also added another shop opening in the bottom part, so that you get this compression. You get smaller doors and windows than were actually there.

    He sets off that sense of compression with this very prominent barber pole, which I have to read as a stand-in for a human being, and perhaps a stand-in for Hopper himself, who was actually tall and, in fact, by this time, bald. 

    So you get this face-off between this solid, familiar but mundane building and this very brightly lit barber pole in this kind of masterful composition, perhaps of which the main subject is light and the way light plays off the built urban environment. 

    Narrator: One of the most important details in Early Sunday Morning is something you might not notice right away—the dark square in the upper right corner. A larger building was going up when Hopper was working on the painting. Its looming silhouette suggests the rapid urbanization and modernization that was transforming the city. 

    To hear more about Early Sunday Morning and its relationship to Nighthawks—the other painting in this room—please tap your screen. 


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