I’ve long thought of Edward Hopper as the quintissential New York City painter. His works have always evoked a powerful sense of place and mood.This winter, NYC’s Whitney Museum of American Art is offering a glimpse into the city that Hopper portrayed in his works, such as “Automat” (1927), “Early Sunday Morning” (1930), “Room in New York” (1932), “New York Movie” (1939), “Morning Sun” (1952) and others.
“Edward Hopper’s New York,” which is on until March 5, 2023, showcases more than 200 paintings watercolors, prints, and drawings from the Whitney’s collection, as well as loans from public and private collections, and archival materials including printed ephemera, correspondence, photographs, and notebooks.
Hopper’s iconic artwork offers a record of an ever changing city. For example, his panoramic cityscapes that are being exhibited together for the first time in a gallery called “The Horizontal City.” Five paintings made between 1928 and 1935—”Early Sunday Morning,” “Manhattan Bridge Loop,” “Blackwell’s Island,” “Apartment Houses, East River,” and “Macomb’s Dam Bridge”—all share nearly identical dimensions and format. According to the museum, seen together, they offer invaluable insight into Hopper’s contrarian vision of the growing city at a time when New York was increasingly defined by its relentless skyward development.
“Edward Hopper’s New York offers a remarkable opportunity to celebrate an ever-changing yet timeless city through the work of an American icon,” says Adam D. Weinberg, the Alice Pratt Brown Director of the Whitney Museum. “As New York bounces back after two challenging years of global pandemic, this exhibition reconsiders the life and work of Edward Hopper, serves as a barometer of our times, and introduces a new generation of audiences to Hopper’s work by a new generation of scholars. This exhibition offers fresh perspectives and radical new insights.”
Along with Hopper’s artwork, the museum has now launched a digital map plotting 20 NYC locations Hopper painted alongside contemporary photos of the sites. While some places Hopper painted haven’t changed much (like the regal Queensboro Bridge), other places have vanished completely (like the lavish Sheridan Theater Hopper painted in 1937).