Painting: Nighthawks, by Edward Hopper

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Edward Hopper exemplifies the zenith of 20th century American Realism. After training under Robert Henri at the New York School of Art, Hopper worked as a commercial illustrator for the first half of his life. In fact, although Hopper sold a variety of prints and watercolors on the side, he did not achieve his first artistic success until he was forty-three. At the Rehn Gallery in 1924, all of Hopper's works on display were purchased. From that point on, Hopper's use of light, isolation, and narrative in his works would define him. Hopper's impact was so dramatic that Alfred Hitchcock would later use his painting, The House by the Railroads, for inspiration on his classic film, Psycho ("Edward Hopper"). Nighthawks is Edward Hopper's most famous work. The title itself refers to the night-going characters that reside in the painting, sitting at the table of a diner. This painting is an American classic, appearing in the pop culture of its time and in examples that are more current. Just by doing a quick search on Google images, an abundance of parodies can be found, replacing the figures in the original with ones from Star Wars, The Simpsons, CSI, and more recently, The Walking Dead. There is no doubt that Hopper has affected the American art scene with this masterpiece, and there are numerous reasons it has become so prominent. Edward Hopper's distinguished painting, Nighthawks, is a representation of the pinnacle of the American realism, the attitude of Americans during the Second World War, and the expansion of New York City. On display at the Art Institute of Chicago, Nighthawks is an oil and canvas work that represents Edward Hopper at his most iconic and popular. Hopper more than often drew on his immediate surroundings for in... ... middle of paper ... ... Hopper has been posthumously recognized for his contributions to the field due to the timeless power of works like Nighthawks. The painting still evokes a compelling, although gaunt, spectacle for the imagination. Works Cited Chilvers, Ian. "Realism." A Dictionary of Modern and Contemporary Art (2 ed.). N.p.: Oxford UP, 2012. Oxford Reference. Web. 10 Apr. 2013. Douglas, Ann. Terrible Honesty: Mongrel Manhattan in the 1920s. New York: First Noonday Press, 1995. Print. Dumenil, Lynn, ed. "New York City." The Oxford Encyclopedia of American Social History. N.p.: Oxford UP, 2012. Oxford Reference. Web. 8 Apr. 2013. "Edward Hopper." American Cultural Leaders. 2001. eLibrary. Web. 14 Apr. 2013. McNeese, Tim. World War II 139-1945. New York: Chelsea House, 2010. Infobase eBooks. Web. 14 Apr. 2013. "World War II." American History. ABC-CLIO, 2013. Web. 14 Apr. 2013.
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