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Office in a Small City

Edward Hopper, 1953
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Edward Hopper produced some of the most iconic images of twentieth century American life. His initial art training was in illustration, but from 1900 he began studying under Robert Henri – a pioneer of urban realist painting. He also travelled to Europe several times, gaining a particular appreciation of how Degas and Manet portrayed contemporary life. Despite, being forced to return to commercial illustration for long periods of time to make a living, by the mid-1920s, he had established a reputation as the foremost figure in American Scene painting. He said of his work, “I was painting the loneliness of a large city”. Pictures of isolated figures within various New York settings evoke the strange emptiness of modern life. Nighthawks (1942) remains the most famous and reproduced example. Despite the increasing dominance of Abstract Expressionism during his latter years, his defiantly figurative and evocative paintings would have a huge influence on succeeding generations of American artists.

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