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Monday, January 27, 2014

Edward Hopper and Beautiful Things

One of the themes I started on this blog a while back revolved around Beauty and its importance in the world and in our lives. I picked up a pseudo-random book from the library the other day (The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton). The book was just okay; it didn't contain anything I thought was worth sharing, but it had excellent illustrations that were selected to fit the mood of certain sections of the book. One of the sections used a couple of paintings by Edward Hopper, and I had forgotten how much I enjoy his work and was inspired to share a little bit of it here. So here's to putting a little beauty in your day!

This first selection is probably Hopper's most famous and most "spoofed" work, "Nighthawks". One of the recurring themes of Hopper's work that I enjoy is his exploration of "ordinary" American life. But the painting raises more questions than it answers: Who are these people? Why are they up late? Why are they at a diner? What's the story with the man and the woman in the red dress (because it seems that there must be some kind of story.)?

This is called "Apartment 3c". This was one of the pieces used in the book I mentioned above in a section on train travel. I'm not sure why I like this piece so much, but let me take a couple guesses: 1) the dominant color is green; this may seem trivial, but certain colors draw us in and set a certain kind of mood. 2) The young woman depicted is reading, and I love images of people reading, because reading is such a personal thing, it transports us to another place, and we become lost in whatever we read. And the idea of watching someone forget themselves and become engrossed in something is enticing to me. 3) There's a young woman, traveling alone on an overnight train (the sun is setting in the background and she doesn't look like she's getting off soon). What's the story there?! Again, Hopper leaves me with more questions than answers.

I'm going to let this one stand without commentary. It caught my eye and I like it. Enough.

Last, but not least, I thought I'd share one of his landscapes, because, although he's not known for them, Hopper has a way of taking a landscape and bringing it alive, of making me feel like I'm actually there. It's also fun to see him work his magic with a bright blue ocean and bright sea-scape, instead of the interior of a train. It just goes to show his versatility and skill.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this little share. I'm really going to try hard to update the blog more often. This year has been killer at school, and I just haven't had the kind of time for other pursuits that I used to.

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