Thursday, 7 January 2016

5 things about Nighthawks by Edward Hopper

Nighthawks, Edward Hopper, 1942, Oil on Canvas, Art Institute of Chicago

#1 The work was finished in 1942 and was sold to the Art Institute of Chicago for $3,000 and has remained in the collection ever since. The work was sold after Hopper and his wife, Josephine attended the opening of an exhibition at the Art Institute. They spoke with the director of the Museum of Modern art who was fond of another of Hopper's paintings and Jo urged him to go to Rehn's gallery (where Nighthawks was being displayed for sale) to see the painting. Subsequently it was purchased by Daniel Catton Rich, the director of the Art Institute of Chicago who was in attendance that evening and went to see the painting at Rehn's.

#2 Nighthawks influenced the look of the film Blade Runner. The director Ridley Scott repeatedly showed the painting to his team stating that he wanted to capture the same kind of look for the film.

#3 - Although invented at an earlier date, the late 1930's - early 1940's saw the commercialisation of the fluorescent light. In 1938 four different size tubes were put onto the market and these new lights were advertised at exhibitions including the New York World's Fair and the Golden Gate International Exposition held in San Francisco. The fluorescent light is what gives the diner the bright, eerie glow that contrasts so starkly with the dark of the street corner.

#4 Edward Hopper's wife, Josephine, kept a journal which Edward would sketch in and add technical information to the pairings and then his wife Josephine would then add additional information to the painting about the painting's theme. This gives us an insight into Hopper's intentions for the pairing.

#5 The work has been parodied many time including in on the Simpsons, Tintin and Peanuts.

Hope you have enjoyed reading more about this beautiful painting.

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