Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Preview: Edward Hopper

Balcon, Albert Marquet, 1904
Yesterday we saw an exhibition at the Musée du Luxembourg. It featured a collection of paintings acquired by the Cercle d'Art Moderne. Basically, this was a group of wealthy businessmen centred around Le Havre, France, who bought and promoted modern art in the early years of the 20th century.

Many of their first acquisitions were Impressionist, but as artists moved beyond Impressionism, so did the collections. Even someone like Renoir, an icon of Impressionism, tired of this style in his later years, and reintroduced concerns of "form" in his work, using light, shadow and contour to model his subjects.

Le Haut-de-Forme, Vallotton, 1887

I was struck by two paintings, because they seemed to foreshadow the vision of Edward Hopper. The first, "Balcon, avenue de Versailles" by Albert Marquet, was painted in 1904. The second, "Le Haut-de-forme" or "La Visite", is by Félix Vallotton, dated 1887.

Hopper lived in Paris for two or three years between 1906 and 1910, where he studied art and was no doubt influenced by French painters of the time.

Early Sunday Morning, Edward Hopper, 1930

Sun in an Empty Room, Edward Hopper, 1963

There is a major show on Hopper opening today at the Grand Palais, and when I visit the show tomorrow, I hope to learn more about his early influences.

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