Thursday, July 22, 2010

"Isn't it lovely how artists can capture us?"*

Again, thanks to my daily emails from The Writer's Almanac, I learned that today is the birthday my FAVORITE PAINTER: Edward Hopper.

To me, Edward Hopper put on canvas what George Gershwin put to music in "Rhapsody in Blue". I can't articulate what that means. (I think that if I could, I would have a book deal, har har); all I can do is feel it. Both prompt such strong and opposing emotions in me: of connectedness, loneliness, complexity, simplicity, energy, and peace. The two artists are at the same time so definitive and so reflective of early 20th century America, and their works really characterize the modern era.

I had admired Hopper's work for many years, both in art books and seeing a few of his paintings at the Met and the MFA. However, after I went to see the Hopper retrospective at the Museum of Fine Arts three years ago, I gained a much fuller appreciation of his work and what he was trying to do, especially when comparing his paintings of the city with more rural landscapes or the seasides. I went through the whole exhibit at a normal pace, trying not to get too caught up in the people being directed en masse by the audio tour. Then I went back to the very first room and slowly poked my way through my favorites again, lingering by new discoveries and old loves. An aside about me: I never get the audio tour at art exhibits. While I like the idea of learning about the artist and the works, I don't like the idea of being directed to specific art. Also, I find that it leads to crowding and dawdling, neither of which I appreciate. (Lingering=good; dawdling=bad - New Englander, right here.)

I don't think it would surprise anyone that I love Hopper's lighthouse paintings. I have a poster of one from the Met framed and hung in my living room. However, at this exhibit I found a new love (pictured above): Rooms for Tourists. This painting was all by itself on a little wall in the middle of a room near the end of the exhibition and is framed in a dark little frame, which, at first, makes it seem a little spooky. Closer inspection, however, reveals a warm little boarding house, snug against the shadows on a summer evening. (It is actually The Sunset Inn in Provincetown.) It normally lives at Yale, and I would love to see it again at some point.

There is a great little quote from Hopper at the end of the Writer's Almanac piece: "Maybe I am slightly inhuman. ... All I ever wanted to do was to paint sunlight on the side of a house." That is quite all right by me.

*The title of today's comes from a lyric in Sondheim's Sunday in the Park with George, a wonderful musical about art and artists.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...