East Side Interior BY EDWARD HOPPER
EDWARD HOPPER, par excellence of water, boats,
and the sort of squarish wooden house and villages near the water in
the eastern states, was appropriately born at Nyack, New York,
famous as the building port for racing yachts. It was 1882,
and within a few years the boy was thoroughly familiar
with the beautiful landscapes of the near-by Hudson valley,
the rigging and form of yachts, and the outline and mass of the waterfront buildings.
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For he has an astonishing sharpness of vision, a pertinacious memory for detail,
an uncanny power of revealing. the beauty in things and places others
might pass by as completely undistinguished. His training in New York,
under Robert Henri and Kenneth Hayes Miller, his self-education in
Paris and elsewhere, have sharpened his tools, given him the
unmistakably personal technique that he uses so persuasively.
But his materials, the apparent commonplaces he loves so understandingly, have remained unchanged.
East Side Interior is a fine example not only of Mr. Hopper’s way of
laying bare the beauties of design and substance to be found in ordinary scenes,
but also of his characteristic way of using light. A scene which many an
artist might have valued for the indications of sordidness with
which it could easily be invested, has here been given the poetic
quality of a moment suspended forever in time. It is realism, if you like,
but realism illuminated with a love for the surfaces light brings out of darkness,
of the forms it rounds out of space, or the quality it lends the drabbest house and room.