11 Things You Learn at “Hopper Drawing: A Painter’s Process”

11 Things You Learn at “Hopper Drawing: A Painter’s Process”

Nighthawks doesn’t depict an actual diner, but there was a New York diner that inspired it. The diner is gone now, which is probably just as well since walking into it would feel like walking into the actual Cheers in Boston: “This doesn’t look anything like it does on TV!”

Edward Hopper didn’t like abstract painting, but abstract painters dug him anyway.

Hopper liked open-ended narratives, tableaus that suggested a moment or encounter but left the circumstances ambiguous. In association with Hopper Drawing‘s tenure at the Walker Art Center, Kate Bernheimer and Laird Hunt have written a novella about Hopper’s painting Office at Night; it’s being published in serial installments.

Office at Night Edward Hopper

Hopper painted multiple offices at night, which is even eerier than diners at night because…what are people doing there?

Every detail of Hopper’s paintings was carefully chosen. In the drawings on display, you can see Hopper experimenting with different configurations of windows, figures, and furniture.

Hopper was way ahead of Minneapolis ad agencies in turning urban water towers into art.

The inn depicted in this Hopper painting does actually exist, in Massachusetts—and you can stay there for 85 bucks.

Rooms for Tourists Hopper

Hopper’s work has been a major influence on filmmakers. Wim Wenders has said that with Hopper, “you can always tell where the camera is.”

Hopper was a late bloomer; his breakthrough as an artist happened in his 40s. Fortunately, more than half of his life was still ahead of him, and he continued to create major works until his death.

Hopper painted women gazing out windows in multiple settings, and it’s surprising how much the narrative seems to change based on whether the woman is looking out on a cityscape or a countryside.

Almost all the naked ladies in Hopper’s work are his wife, with different faces.

Jay Gabler

Hopper Drawing: A Painter’s Process is on display at the Walker Art Center through June 20Top: Morning Sun, 1952. Middle: Office at Night, 1940. Bottom: Rooms for Tourists, 1945. Images courtesy Walker Art Center.