Edward Hopper, Dead Tree and Side of the Lombard House, watercolor, 1931, Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, Madrid
What so many find exciting about Hopper is that he breathed new life into the whole tradition of American landscape painting. The starkly elegant watercolor above is a good example.
A great new spanish language video on the major Edward Hopper retrospective exhibition at the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Madrid features a little footage of my current exhibit (through July1, 2012) at the Edward Hopper House Art Center in Nyack, NY.
The video’s producers traveled to New York to gather background material on Hopper’s life and work and went up to Nyack, NY to film Hopper's boyhood home and interview Carole Perry the Art Center's Director. Two brief views of my show Inside Edward Hopper's Truro Studio installed in Hopper’s bedroom appear at about minute 3:39 in this beautifully produced overview of Hoppper’s art. It is probably the best video on Hopper yet produced, even for those who don’t speak the language.
Here's a link to the Hopper exhibit page of the Thyssen-Bornemisza Musuem's website.
The Hopper watercolor is one you don't usually see. It's a marvelous example of Hopper's delight in almost wacky juxtapositions. See how he plays up the contrast between the house and the tree by lightening up the shadows in the architecture and darkening them in the tree trunk. He seems to want the forms to feel so different that they collide. Yet he's smart enough to know he has to still hint at some kind of link between them. And sure enough, the windows and shutters and some small shadows on the shingles are painted in with the colors of the tree's bark.
Hopper helped us see how things really are instead of how we commonly think of them. I don't think Hopper set out to "be wierd" with his work. Rather it's that he just noticed things other people had overlooked, realized they contained surprises that were important, and found a way to give them concrete form in his paintings. If anyone ever gave us friendly reminders that it's worth it to keep your eyes open, he did.
The big Hopper exhibition in Madrid runs through September 16.
P.S. Want to remind people that in the next couple of days my art website philipkoch.com will move over to a new web address: