Sunday, November 23, 2008

Seattle Art Museum: Edward Hopper's Women

Hopper's Chop Suey
The exhibit Edward Hopper’s Women is at the Seattle Art Museum (SAM) from November 13, 2008 – March 1, 2009. A small number of paintings are presented including the famous Chop Suey (1929) pictured above. Edward Hopper (1882 – 1967) was an American painter and printmaker whose work spans 60 years.

The exhibit opens a new window on to the artist beyond the creator of “those” mid-century, nostalgic, film-noir-ish, iconographic views of diners. (Sorry, we can’t help but to mention OMD’s inspired Hopper cover for Crush.) Instead, Hopper’s work becomes more narrative as you learn about him as a person (introverted) and his relentless study of people, especially the modern American women in urban scenes. Part of the key to deciphering Hopper, is understanding his relationship with his wife Josephine. She was the model for most if not all of the women in the paintings, and more importantly, the psychology of their hinted-at cool relationship makes the paintings perhaps a bit more understandable. Aspects of their relationship seem to be played out in the paintings: cool and detached, figures, whether one or more, seem isolated and you the viewer feels voyeuristic.

Through two world wars, the Great Depression, and various art trends not much changed in Hopper’s work. Was that because American life truly didn’t change or Hopper’s interest didn’t?

No comments:

Post a Comment