Showing posts from April, 2014

Unlockng Clues to Edward Hopper

On Sunday afternoon May 4 I've been invited by the Edward Hopper House Art Center in Nyack, NY to give a short talk on the legacy of Hopper's vision. The talk will take place in Hopper's boyhood home, upstairs in the bedroom where he was born and lived until he was nearly 30. Years before Hopper, previous generations of the American Hudson River School artists painted often literally in Hopper's neighborhood. The profoundly divergent ways Hopper and his predecessors chose to compose pictorial space is fascinating. Above is Hopper's oil Gloucester Harbor,  teaming with activity. It's a view that highlights some of the key ingredients of Hopper's artistic vision- an elevated viewpoint, dramatic and even jarring juxtapositions, and generally a preference for forms that are close in to the viewer. By contrast, here's an oil by the 19th century American painter Sanford Gifford of the Palisades, the dramatic stretch of towering cliffs l

Telling the Truth with Little Lies : Two Paintings by Edward Hopper

On Sunday, May 4 I'm going to be giving a short talk on the legacy of Edward Hopper as part of the Edward Hopper House Art Center's Spring Gala, At Home with Edward and Jo Hopper. On display in the Center's galleries will be some rarely seen works by the painter Jo Hopper, Edward's wife. Along with short presentations on Hopper, music, lite fare, and a silent auction. The event is a fundraiser to support what is probably one of the most remarkable homes in the country open to the public. If you want to feel American art history, this is the place. For more information on this ticketed event click here. Above is an oil painting Edward Hopper made of his boyhood home in Nyack, NY (now the Edward Hopper House Art Center). He lived there with only a few interruptions until he was nearly 30. The memory of the Nyack home remained deeply rooted in him. Of all his paintings this is the one that most closely resembles the way the place actually looks.  It's a view

Visiting the Johnson Museum of Art in Ithaca, NY

Last June I visited the Johnson Museum of Art in Ithaca, NY. Their new Director, Stephanie Wiles very kindly had given me a private tour. It was so impressive that two weeks ago I took my wife Alice to see it. Their I.M. Pei designed facility is unusual for an art museum, taking the form of a commanding tower overlooking the low mountains of the southern Finger Lakes of New York State. Great sweeping spaces where I spent much of my youth. One Dutch Baroque painting in particular caught my eye, Diana and Actaeon , labeled simply Utrecht School, Circle of Jan van Bijlert, circa 1660. In it Actaeon, a young and very mortal hunter stumbles across the Goddess Diana, who is bathing in a forest stream accompanied by her retinue of nymphs. Famously chaste and easily offended by the young man's intrusion, she splashes him with water, turning him into a deer. Frightened, Actaeon runs off only to be tracked  down by his own hounds and killed by his fellow hunters who don't reali