Edward Hopper Exhibition at the MFA, Boston

Edward Hopper Exhibition at the MFA, Boston
Considered to be the foremost American realist painter of the 20th century, Edward Hopper is best known for his paintings of anonymous people in city views.

An exhibition debuting at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston highlights not only his iconic works but also the lighthouses of southern Maine and other less familiar works.

An admirer of the cinema, Hopper uniquely paints narrative works, leaving it up to us, the viewer to finish the story. Many of his subjects are solitary, even when in the company of others.

"Nighthawks" is probably Hopper's best known painting, being parodied in advertising and cartoons. Diagonals used in the architectural element of the buildings and sidewalks, draws us into this space. Light and shadows play a major "role" in the drama of Hopper's world.

Hopper challenges us visually as well as intellectually. There are so many questions associated with the paintings, but no answers are given by the artist.

Hopper's women are sometimes naked, sometimes partially clothed, but always contemplative. Does the woman playing with the piano keys in "Room in New York" (1932) want to go out for the evening while her husband is intensely reading the newspaper? Or is the woman in "Office at Night" (1940), provocatively posed at the file cabinet, glancing longingly at the man working at his desk? The viewer is left finishing the script to these shorts.

The last painting by Hopper, done four years before his death is "Sun in Empty Room" (1963). I think the artist wants us to fill the room with the people or scenery that we choose. He wanted to ensure that his legacy in the story of art would continue beyond his lifetime.

In 1971, his wife Jo would bequeath more than 3,000 of his works to the Whitney Museum in New York, where a major retrospective was given in 1950.

This splendid exhibition, "Edward Hopper" is currently at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston through August 19, 2007, before traveling to the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., and the Art Institute of Chicago.

You too can own a print of Edward Hopper's iconic painting, "Nighthawks."

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