Far Away from Home: Madrid Hosting Edward Hopper Exhibition at the Thyssen-Bornemisza Musem
Far away from their native New York, a collection of seventy-three Edward Hopper (1882-1967) paintings is currently on display in Madrid’s Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum. In a rare move, curators Thomás Llorens and Didier Ottinger have joined forces to tell the story of an American artist who emerged as one of the finest realist painters of the twentieth century. The exhibition is a seamless presentation of Edward Hopper’s stylistic evolution: By segmenting this selection of Hopper’s oeuvre into his early years and mature period, visitors will easily be able to distinguish the different shifts that occurred through the artist’s career. The entire presentation is capped off with a cinematic surprise that gives the audience members a chance to be a living part of history.
The entrance of the exhibition transports museum visitors to turn of the century New York, placing them in the studios of famed American artists William Merritt Chase(1849-1916) and Robert Henri (1865-1929). As a student at the New York School of Art, Hopper was enrolled in an institution chockfull of talented faculty members and star pupils: Along with fellow classmates George Bellows(1882-1925) and Rockwell Kent (1882-1971), Edward Hopper was able to learn the fundamentals of painting from Chase, who also ingrained his students with an appreciation for the lighting effects of French Impressionism. The curriculum in Robert Henri’s studio involved anything but formal methodology: Henri’s syllabus tossed out any and all things academic, and instead urged his students to leave the studio and make for the streets, where they were encouraged to paint the budding American spirit with a gritty, shocking realism. Passing through the first part of the exhibit, viewers will see a selection of Robert Henri’s paintings hanging alongside the early works of Hopper, in addition to several works by other influencing artists like Edgar Degas (1834-1917) and Albert Marquet (1875-1947).
Having set the stage for the artist’s mature career, the second section of the exhibition is a chronological arrangement of Edward Hopper paintings that pinpoint specific events and motifs that became telltale themes in his work. In a clear nod to his native tradition, Hopper’s fascination with twentieth-century American society integrated stylistic aspects of Winslow Homer (1836-1910) and Thomas Eakins (1844-1916); the artist idolized the latter as “the greatest American painter.” Hopper had the unparalleled ability to generate a dramatic sense of loneliness into his works, which became the distinguishing motif that set him apart from his contemporaries.
Before visitors can go order a glass of sangria or lay down for an afternoon siesta, they must pass through the third and final part of the Edward Hopper exhibition. Designed as an interactive film set, American filmmaker Ed Lachmann recreated a 3-D version of Hopper’s Morning Sun (1952), where participants can sit and pose just as Hopper’s model did. The reconstruction of the setting shows how the Hopper used cinematic devices to fabricate the dramatic narratives for which he became so well known.
The Thyssen-Bornemisza’s exhibition Hopper will run through September 16, 2012, and will then travel to Paris, where it will be on display at the Rèunion des Museès Nationaux de France–Grand Palais from October 10, 2012 until January 38, 2013.
This entry was posted and is filed under Art News, Events and Exhibitions. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
Leave a Reply