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Edward Hopper

September 16 - January 21, 2008


The exhibition Edward Hopper marks the first time in more than 25 years -- in the case of Boston and Washington, more than 50 -- that a comprehensive exhibition of this great artist's work has been seen in American museums outside New York. This comprehensive survey will focus on the period of the artist's great achievements -- from about 1925 to mid-century -- when he produced such iconic paintings as Automat (1927), Drug Store (1927), Early Sunday Morning (1930), New York Movie (1939), and Nighthawks (1942).

Edward Hopper is organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, where it debuts May 6 through August 19, 2007; the National Gallery of Art, Washington, where it will be on view September 16, 2007 through January 21, 2008; and The Art Institute of Chicago, where it will be seen February 16 through May 11, 2008.

"The National Gallery is pleased to present this new exploration of a very fertile period in Edward Hopper's career when he produced some of the outstanding masterpieces of modern American art," said Earl A. Powell III, director, National Gallery of Art. "We are pleased to join the Museum of Fine Arts and the Art Institute of Chicago in investigating how his images were seen in his own time. We welcome the sponsorship of Booz Allen Hamilton, who helped bring this important show to our nation's capital."


The Artist and the Exhibition

The classic works of Edward Hopper (1882-1967) capture the realities of urban and rural American life with a poignancy and beauty that have placed them among the most enduring and popular images of the 20th century. This exhibition of about 50 oil paintings, 25 watercolors, and 12 prints, arranged chronologically and thematically, reveals Hopper as a creator of compelling images who produced remarkably subtle and painterly effects in both oil and watercolor. It will also examine how his images were seen by his contemporaries in the middle decades of the century.

From the late 1920s, Hopper was recognized as one of the most profound American artists, praised for his mastery at painting light, for his direct, eloquent realism, and for his unique sensitivity to modern American life. He excelled as a painter in oils, as a watercolorist, and as a printmaker, and this exhibition presents his greatest work in all three media. The assembled art includes some of Hopper's best-loved images as well as seldom seen works of extraordinary quality and power.

A group of paintings and prints from the late 1910s and early 1920s introduces his signature subjects, and reveals his beginnings as an artist influenced by both the American Ashcan school and a fin-de-siècle sensibility to which he was exposed during student years in Paris. The core of the exhibition is dedicated to the mature, highly original images for which he is justly famous: majestic Maine lighthouses; Manhattan apartments, restaurants, and theaters; and the old-fashioned houses of Gloucester and Cape Cod. Hopper's career spanned six decades, and in his epic late paintings, created during the ascendancy of abstract expressionism, he remained a staunch realist, his style marked by increasing simplicity and austerity.


Documentary Film

The iconic paintings and artistic impact of Edward Hopper (1882-1967) are the topics for a 30-minute 2007 documentary DVD accompanying the exhibition Edward Hopper on its national tour, and will be aired on PBS-TV stations nationwide. Narrated by the award-winning actor, writer, and Hopper art collector Steve Martin and produced by the National Gallery of Art, the film will accompany the exhibition in all three venues: the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (May 6 through August 19, 2007); the National Gallery of Art, Washington (September 16 through January 21, 2008); and The Art Institute of Chicago (February 16 through May 11, 2008). At the National Gallery, the film will be shown in its entirety in the East Building auditoriums, dates to be announced. A 15-minute version of the film will be shown continuously in a theater inside the exhibition. The documentary includes archival footage of Hopper, new footage of places that inspired him in New York and New England, including his boyhood home in Nyack and his studio on Washington Square, where he lived and worked for more than 50 years. From their New York studios, artists Red Grooms and Eric Fischl discuss Hopper's influence on their careers. Co-curators of the exhibition -- Carol Troyen, John Moors Cabot Curator of American Paintings, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and Judith Barter, The Field-McCormick Chair of American Art at The Art Institute of Chicago -- as well as independent scholar Avis Berman, author of Hopper's New York, discuss recent and diverse perspectives on Hopper's art. Hopper's passion for the movies, particularly film noir classics from the 1930s such as The Public Enemy , is revealed in the film, which also shows the influence of Hopper's work on the set designs of filmmakers who came after him, including Alfred Hitchcock and Wim Wenders.


Curators, Catalogue, and Related Activities

A fully illustrated catalogue will be published by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and will be available in both softcover and hardcover editions. The catalogue will include essays by the co-curators of the exhibition -- Carol Troyen, John Moors Cabot Curator of American Paintings, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and Judith Barter, The Field-McCormick Chair of American Art at The Art Institute of Chicago -- and others and will be available for sale by the National Gallery of Art Shops in May, 2007. The catalogue will be approximately 288 pages with 170 color and 15 black-and-white illustrations.

A full program of lectures, music, and other events will be announced by the Gallery at a later date.

Resource Library readers may also enjoy

on the Web:

Edward Hopper resources on the NGA website
Edward Hopper Press Event Opening Remarks (20:27 minutes)

and this video:

Edward Hopper: The Silent Witness. Great American realist painter Edward Hopper emerges In this thoughtful 43 minute docudrama. It traces his steps along the Eastern seaboard using his works, from museums like the Whitney, the Art Institute of Chicago and MOMA, as clues to his Itinerary. "Dramatizes the life of American painter Edward Hopper (1882--1967) in his Cape Cod studio. Shows locations that may have inspired the subjects of his paintings including empty cityscapes and countrysides, the stark light of Cape Cod, silent hills and houses, and themes of alienation and loneliness." Edward Hopper: The Silent Witness is available through the Sullivan Video Library at The Speed Art Museum which holds a sizable collection of art-related videos available to educators at no charge.

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