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New Paris exhibition reveals different side of Edward Hopper

October 10, 2012|By Chris Barton
  • Visitors look at paintings by U.S. artist Edward Hopper at an exhibition at the Grand Palais in Paris.
Visitors look at paintings by U.S. artist Edward Hopper at an exhibition… (Christophe Karaba / EPA )

An exhibition opening in Paris this month looks to reveal a new side of American painter Edward Hopper, one that indicates a European influence reflected in his work.

Best known for painting images of quintessentially American scenes of isolation such as the iconic "Nighthawks" (1942) and a wealth of images inspired by New England, Hopper seldom discussed his inspiration, but he admitted to the influence of French engraver Charles Méryon.

Focusing on Hopper's visits to Paris not long after the turn of the century, the exhibition at Paris' Grand Palais compares the painter's early work to that of European artists Edgar Degas and Rembrandt.

Displaying lesser-known paintings such as "Louvre in a Thunderstorm" from 1909, the show will allow museum visitors to see early traces of Hopper's eye for detail that served him well in later works.

The first Hopper retrospective held in Paris, the exhibition will include roughly 160 pieces in chronological order, according to a report by the Associated Press. According to exhibition curator Didier Ottinger, the show will also point to a difference in what's commonly perceived as Hopper's dominant mood, which is frequently seen as one of quiet and vaguely grim isolation.

Citing Hopper's 1952 work "Morning Sun," which featured two figures bathed in light, Ottinger sees something else in the painter's work. "You see people who are awakened by the sun and taken out of their condition, which is very poor and very ordinary," he said. "This is the hope that is expressed in Hopper's painting."

The exhibition opens on Wednesday and runs through Jan. 28.


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Twitter: @chrisbarton

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