Edward Hopper, a prominent American realist painter and printmaker, was born on July 22, 1882 in Nyack, New York. His birthplace and childhood home is today the Edward Hopper House Art Center. It serves as a non-profit community cultural center featuring exhibitions, workshops. Hopper is most widely known for his oil paintings; however he was equally proficient as a watercolorist and printmaker in etching.
As a child, Hopper’s art was encouraged by his parents. By his teens, he was working in pen-and-ink, charcoal, watercolor, and oil. His drawings were of political cartoons, as well as from nature. His first signed oil painting Rowboat in Rocky Cove, created in 1895, showed his early interest in nautical subjects.
Hopper studied for six years at the New York Institute of Art and Design. His teachers included William Merritt Chase, who instructed him in oil painting, and Robert Henri, who taught life class. Edward Hopper’s early style was modeled after Chase and French masters Édouard Manet and Edgar Degas. During this period, Hopper painted nudes, still lifes, landscapes, and portraits. In 1905, he worked for an advertising agency, creating cover designs for trade magazines. As Hopper had little recognition in the early part of his career, he concentrated on illustration work to make a living. In 1919, he began etching, capturing concepts of everyday life in America on the plate. His etchings were accepted in major exhibitions.
In 1920, Hopper, along with fellow artists Thomas Hart Benton, Charles Burchfield, Reginald Marsh, John Steuart Curry, and Grant Wood, joined a nationalist school dedicated to painting the native scene in a naturalistic style. His works House by the Railroad (1925), Automat (1927), and Lighthouse at Two Lights (1929) formed the core of the American Scene Movement. In 1927, Edward Hopper’s oil paintings were exhibited at the Rehn Gallery in New York, establishing his reputation.
Edward Hopper’s work of people inhabiting city and suburban scenes are lonely and anonymous. His works without human element take on these qualities in the architecture or landscape, using intense light to infuse human emotion. His work is represented in every major institution in the United States.
Edward Hopper died in his studio on May 15, 1967.