A brief observation: The exteriors and interiors of Edward Hopper

June 2, 2013

Colorful, bullish, striking exteriors have nothing inside. Some of Hopper’s best paintings of architecture are brightly lit and strongly colored, yet many of the unavoidable windows are dark. Some doors, too, seem nearly cavernous. Some windows and doors yawn blackness. (Perhaps my own mind is to blame, but my eyes are drawn to some of those windows and doors.) They appear ominous, similar to our experience of cracked closet doors or staircases fading down into an unlit basement.

When Hopper shows us an interior, he shows us isolation. If human figures aren’t alone in a room, they are situated singularly. Some solitary individuals stare out windows. Paintings like “Sun in an Empty Room” only emphasize these themes of loneliness and emptiness.

The modern world looks outstanding from the outside, but the inside can be hollow, lonely, even scary.

As Leslie Jamison wrote in a somewhat different context, “We often find loneliness gazing back at us from those corners where we’ve tried to take refuge from it.”

Also see “Edward Hopper’s art, through his wife’s eyes.”

Creative Commons License
“A brief observation: The exteriors and interiors of Edward Hopper” by Colin Foote Burch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

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