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1882-1967

 

 

Edward Hopper, der af mange opfattes som den fremmeste amerikanske realistiske maler i det 20. århundrede, kunne godt ses som et eksempel på en af Amerikas populæreste myter: Den ærkeamerikanske succeshistorie om et menneske fra ydmyge, eller i det mindste usandsynlige, kår stiger til tops inden for sit erhverv. Dette er en karakteristik, der ville have chokeret Hopper, der så sig selv som så atypisk, at han var afsondret fra hovedstrømningerne både i det amerikanske samfund og indenfor amerikansk kunst. Og dog er denne selvlærte enegænger, som hævdede ikke at være sig nogen påvirkning af betydning bevidst, og som benægtede at have andet formål med sin kunst end "at male solskinnet på en husmur", blevet kaldt et forbillede indenfor den amerikanske æstetiske tradition og arvtager efter så store malere som Winslow Homer og Thomas Eakins.

I Hoppers bylandskaber, provinsbygader, gårde og landeveje er bevaret et foruroligende portræt af det 20. århundredes Amerika, da den moderne livsstil tog fart og efterlod mange amerikanere med følelsen af at være lige så isolerede som deres forfædre havde været det på prærien. Som malerkollegaen Charles Burchfield sagde i 1950: "Eftertiden kan lære mere om vores liv i dag ved at se på Hoppers værker end af alle nutidens sociologiske retninger, politiske kommentarer eller kæmpe avisoverskrifter."

Hopper var den første maler, som fremhævede den dystre side af Amerikas vilde vækst, som beskæftigede sig med de former, som den menneskelige isolation og upersonlighed, der fulgte i kølvandet på landets tilsyneladende uovervindelige fremskridt og vækst, antog. "Hopper-huse" og "Hopper-mennesker", såvel som "Hopper-gader og -landeveje" er umiddelbart genkendelige, ikke blot som en dygtig kunstners værker, men som billeder af en national virkelighed. Hopper indrømmede selv, at han malede meget mere end "solskinnet på en husmur", da han sagde, at hans mål med at male "altid har været den mest præcise gengivelse af mine mest private oplevelser af naturen." Det er denne kombination af præcis gengivelse og personlig vision der gør de bedste Hopper-malerier både umiddelbart genkendelige og uforglemmelige.

Fra
Introduction
i Edward Hopper
af Sherry Marker
[Uautoriseret oversættelse: Webmaster]

Edward Hopper, regarded by many as twentieth-century America's foremost realist painter, could well be seen as an example of one of America's most popular myths: the all-American success story whereby someone from humble, or at least unlikely, origins rises to the top of his profession. It is a characterization that probably would have horrified Hopper, who chose to see himself as being so atypical as to be isolated from the mainstream of both American society and American art.Yet this self-styled loner, who claimed to be unaware of any significant influences on his work and who disclaimed any greater purpose for his art than to "paint sunlight on the side of a house," has been called an examplar of the great American aesthetic tradition and the heir of such towering painters as Winslow Homer and Thomas Eakins.

Hopper's cityscapes and scenes of small town streets, country farms and roads preserve an uncanny portrait of twentieth-century America during the years when modern life accelerated and left many Americans feeling as isolated as their ancestors had been on prairie homesteads. As fellow-painter Charles Burchfield said in 1950, "Posterity will be able to learn more about our life of today through looking at Hopper's work than from all the social schools, political comments or screaming headlines of the present."

Hopper was the first painter to emphasize the dark side of America's pellmell growth, to dwell on the forms of human isolation and impersonality that accompanied the country's seemingly invincible progress and expansion. "Hopper houses" and "Hopper people," as well as both urban and rural "Hopper streets" are instantly recognizable, not just as creations of a gifted artist, but as reflections of a national reality. Hopper himself admitted that he painted much more than "sunlight on the side of a house" when he said that his aim in painting "has always been the most exact transcription possible of my most intimate impressions of nature." It is this combination of precise rendering and personal vision that makes the best Hoppers both immediately recognizable and unforgettable.

From
Introduction
in Edward Hopper
by Sherry Marker

 


Nighthawks Nighthawks

Filmen Casablanca, en af Hollywoods mest slidstærke successer, havde premiere i 1942, og med melodien "As time goes by" i øret og billedet af barejeren Rick i Humphrey Bogarts skikkelse på nethinden er en stemning slået an.

1942 var også det år, Edward Hopper malede sit uden tvivl bedst kendte billede "Nighthawks" […]. Maleriet […] skildrer en arketypisk nattescene fra storbyen New York.  

Igennem en stor glasrude ser vi sammen med den ensomme nattevandrer eller maleren fra den øde og mørke gade ind i en ubarmhjertigt neonoplyst diner med i alt fire personer. En hvidklædt bartender står let bøjet bag barskranken – måske er han i færd med at vaske glas af. Et par, der kunne være trådt ud af en hvilken som helst af tidens gangsterfilm, sidder med kaffekrusene foran sig, hun i rød kjole, han med hatten på hovedet og en cigaret mellem fingrene, men maleriets hovedperson er manden, der sidder for sig selv med ryggen til vinduet. Synderligt overraskende ville det ikke være, hvis han pludselig vendte sig om imod os og viste sig at være Humphrey Bogart.  

Billedet "Nighthawks" er et fastfrosset øjeblik, en scene i en film omsat til maleri. Appellen til vores forestillingsevne er enorm. Vi er midt i et handlingsforløb, men kan kun gætte på, hvad der er gået forud for dette øjeblik, og hvad der vil følge. En del af Edward Hoppers mesterskab, som det generøst bredes ud for os, er evnen til at skære bort og koncentrere og på den måde trænge ind til essensen af en stemning eller følelse. Mellem fåmæltheden i Edward Hoppers billedunivers og den hårdkogte knaphed i det bedste af for eksempel Hemingways noveller er der et klart slægtskab. At maleriet "Nighthawks" den ene gang efter den anden er dukket op hos amerikanske forfattere – og ikke mindst kriminalforfattere – siger noget om billedets mytiske intensivering af en amerikansk storbystemning.  

En af de forfattere, der adskillige steder refererer til "Nighthawks", er Michael Connelly, ophavsmanden til nogle af det sidste tiårs bedste amerikanske kriminalromaner. Michael Connelly lader sin egen enegænger af en helt, politimanden Bosch, identificere sig med manden, der sidder alene i Hoppers diner på hjørnet af de to New York-gader: "Jeg er den ensomme, tænkte han, jeg er "the Nighthawk".

Fra
Jørgen Johansen
Pas til Hoppers verden
Weekendavisen 9.-15. juli 2004

The movie Casablanca, one of Hollywood's most durable successes, opened in 1942, and with the tune "As time goes by" in your ear and the image of bar owner Rick in the shape of Humphrey Bogart on your retina an atmosphere is struck.

1942 was also the year that Edward Hopper painted his without doubt best-known picture "Nighthawks". The painting […] depicts an archetypical night scene from the city of New York,

Through a large glass pane we look with the lonely night wanderer or the painter from the deserted and dark street into a mercilessly neon-lit diner with a total of four persons. A bartender dressed in white stands slightly bent behind the counter – perhaps he is washing glasses. A couple, who could be straight from any of the film noirs of the time, sit with coffee mugs in front of them, she in a red dress, he with his hat on his head and a cigarette between his fingers, but the main character of the painting is the man sitting alone with his back to the window. It would not be particularly surprising if he suddenly turned towards us and we saw Humphrey Bogart.  

"Nighthawks" is a frozen moment, a scene from a movie transformed into a painting. The appeal to our imagination is enormous. We are in the middle of story line but can only guess at what went before this moment and what will follow. Part of Hopper's skill so generously spread out before us is the ability to cut away and concentrate and in that way penetrate to the essence of an atmosphere or feeling. Between the taciturnity of the universe of Edward Hopper's paintings and the hardboiled conciseness in the best of for example Hemingway's short stories there is a close kinship. That "Nighthawks" time and again has popped up with American writers – not least writers of crime stories – tells us something about the painting's mythical intensification of an American city atmosphere. One of the writers, who refers to "Nighthawks" in several places, is Michael Connelly, the author of some of the past decade's best American crime novels. Michael Connelly lets his own lone wolf of a hero, the policeman Bosch, identify with the man sitting alone in Hopper's diner at the corner of the two New York streets: "I am the lonely one, he thought, I am the Nighthawk".  

From
Jørgen Johansen
Pas til Hoppers verden (Passport to Hopper's world)
Weekendavisen, July 9-15, 2004
[Unauthorized translation: Webmaster]
 

 

Chaircar Chaircar

 

Chop Suey Chop Suey

 

Eleven AM Eleven AM

 

Hotel Lobby Hotel Lobby

 

New York Movie New York Movie

 

Office at Night Office at Night

Hopper erindrer om Office at Night, at han "sikkert i første omgang fik ideen til billedet efter mange ture med "L"-toget i New York City efter mørkets frembrud med glimt af kontorer, der var så flygtige, at de efterlod et frisk og levende indtryk i bevidstheden." Det er således ikke noget specifikt kontor men en sammenblanding af mange, en projektion af hvad Hopper kaldte sin "interior vision".

Det er sen aften i et ensomt kontor; kvinden og manden synes at undgå øjenkontakt, et stykke papir er faldet på gulvet. Hvad er der lige sket, og hvad vil der så ske? "Jeg håber ikke, at det fortæller en oplagt historie, for det er ikke meningen", sagde Hopper. Ikke desto mindre er der en umiskendelig erotisk spænding, hvilket bekræftes at billedets arbejdstitel:  Confidentially Yours, Room 1005

Jane Burton, Curator: 
Interpretation, 
Tate Modern
[Uautoriseret oversættelse: Webmaster]
 

 

Office at Night, Hopper recalled, 'was probably first suggested by many rides on the 'L' train in New York City after dark and glimpses of office interiors that were so fleeting as to leave fresh and vivid impressions on my mind.' Not a specific scene then, but a composite of many, a projection of what Hopper called his 'interior vision'. [...] 

It is late at night in a lonely office; the woman and man seem to avoid eye contact, a sheet of paper has fallen to the floor. What has just happened, and what comes next?. 'I hope it will not tell any obvious anecdote, for none is intended', Hopper said. Nonetheless, an erotic frisson is unmistakable, as the painting's working title Confidentially Yours, Room 1005 confirms.

Jane Burton, Curator: 
Interpretation, 
Tate Modern

 

 

Summertime

Bygninger bliver ofte i sig selv figurer. [...] Arkitekturen i Summertime bidrager til maleriets eroticisme. De bølgende gardiner i vinduet og den indbydende åbne indgang skaber en passende freudiansk baggrund for den unge kvinde, der venter i sin afslørende sommerkjole.

Jane Burton, Curator: 
Interpretation, 
Tate Modern
[Uautoriseret oversættelse: Webmaster]
 

Buildings often become characters in themselves. [...] The architecture in Summertime contributes to the painting's eroticism. The billowing curtains at the window and the inviting, open doorway provide a backdrop with suitably Freudian evocations for the young woman waiting in a revealing summer dress.

Jane Burton, Curator: 
Interpretation, 
Tate Modern

 

Two on the Aisle

 

Pennsylvania Coal Town Pennsylvania Coal Town

 

Gas Gas

 

Early Sunday Morning Early Sunday Morning

 

El Palacio El Palacio

 

House by the Railroad House by the Railroad

 

The Circle Theater The Circle Theater

 

The Lighthouse at Two Lights The Lighthouse at Two Lights

Fyrtårnet var et motiv, der fascinerede Hopper. Med dets periodiske lysstråle, der gennemtrænger selv den sorteste nat, er det et passende symbol for en maler, der var besat af lys og skygge. Det er naturligvis også et velkendt symbol på ensomhed – den alt gennemtrængende stemning der sniger sig ind i et Hopper-maleri som havgus. Hoppers kone Josephine skrev endda om sin mand: "De fyrtårne er selvportrætter."

Jane Burton, Curator: 
Interpretation, 
Tate Modern
[Uautoriseret oversættelse: Webmaster]
 

The lighthouse was a motif that fascinated Hopper. With its intermittent beam penetrating even the blackest night, it is a fitting emblem for an artist obsessed with light and shadow. It is of course, also a well-known symbol for loneliness – that all-pervading mood that creeps into a Hopper painting like sea mist. Hopper's wife Josephine even wrote of her husband: 'Those lighthouses are self-portraits.'

Jane Burton, Curator: 
Interpretation, 
Tate Modern

 

Light at Two Lights Light at Two Lights

 

The Long Leg The Long Leg