Photorealism was once one of the leading painting genres of the 19th century, with supplementary help from the newly invented camera. However, the value of realistic duplication gradually lost its value when the glam of photography started to take over.

Gravitating away from the conventional realism crowd, American artist Edward Hopper depicts his interpreted reality through a blended blue tone. Upholding the sensitive vision toward his surroundings, he is an expert in transforming ordinary scenes into mysterious narratives on canvas.

night windows

Night Windows | Edward Hopper | 1928

Characters in Hopper’s works are usually suffering from loneliness and boredom. The canvas is engulfed by a sense of isolation and alienation. The scene seems like an incomplete story and draws out boundless imagination from the viewer.automat-1927

Automat | Edward Hopper | 1927


Sunlight in Cafeteria | Edward Hopper | 1958

Regardless of mystifying atmosphere, Hopper illustrates the vivid relationship between the characters and their environment precisely. Nighthawks, perceived as a timeless landmark in art history, depicts Hopper’s remarkable observation and craftsmanship.sketch

Nighthawks Sketch | Edward Hopper | 1941

Quoting Hopper’s words on discussion in Nighthawks,

“Unconsciously, probably, I was painting the loneliness of a large city.”


Nighthawks | Edward Hopper | 1942

Stepping over the painting genre, Hopper’s works made a significant contribution to film noir. With his choice of lighting and ways of framing, numerous filmmakers; Alfred Hitchcock, Martin Scorsese, cited Hopper as their incentive spots.

Australian Filmmaker Gustav Deutsch brought 13 of Hopper’s paintings alive by film and titled them ‘Shirley: Visions of Reality’.morning-sun

Morning Sun | Edward Hopper | 1952


Shirley: Visions of Reality | Gustav Deutsch | 2013

The film presented the documentary life of Shirley, an imaginative character driven by Hopper’s paintings, in three different periods of time. In harmony with American historical background, Deutsch reinterpreted the connotation of staged reality and dialogue between painting and

New York Movie | Edward Hopper | 1939

shirley visions of reality

Shirley: Visions of Reality | Gustav Deutsch | 2013

“My main idea was to “vivify” the pictures. I wanted to imagine what happened shortly before and after the moment that remains frozen in Hopper’s painting.” Gustav Deutsch

Written by Elaine Chau

Edited by Sonia Wan


Edward Hopper (2016) EDWARD HOPPER AND HIS PAINTINGS  [Online] Available at  [Accessed 11/7/16]

Shirley : Visions of Reality (2013) DIRECTORS STATEMENT [Online] Available at [Accessed 11/7/16]

Smithsonian (2007) HOPPER : THE SUPREME AMERICAN REALIST OF THE 20TH CENTURY [Online] Available at [Accessed 11/7/16]

Whitney Museum of American Art (2016) AUDIO GUIDE STOP FOR EDWARD HOPPER, STUDY FOR NIGHTHAWKS, 1941 [Online] Available at [Accessed 11/7/16]