NYACK, N.Y. -- Pardon the marketing, but there will be a free photographic exhibition in this village of artist Edward Hopper’s birth Saturday, Feb. 12, 5-7 p.m., when “Hopperesque: Realism and Light in Photography” is presented in the famed American realist’s family home at 82 North Broadway.
Hopper caught his first glimpse of Hudson riverfront light at his Nyack birth in 1882 and never drew the curtain on it, imbuing his copper-plate etchings, watercolors and, most of all, his haunting horizontal oils with interpretive illumination. His portfolio is a spotlight on the American experience of the 20th century.
This was the man, tall and lean, quiet and introspective, whose symbiosis with film noir was so interwoven that it is difficult to say who or which came first. Until he passed in 1967, Hopper captured urban solitude and country landscape, his reduced painting symbolic of the independence, the moods of America, its very idiosyncrasy.
Today Edward Hopper is iconic, his “Nighthawks” and other works recognizable worldwide. Recent museum shows in Boston, Washington, New York City and Europe have drawn thousands in reverent communication with an artist who said so little by speech but who in his paintings expressed deeply and extensively facets native to the American being. Hopper offered as much in this quote: “If I could say it in words, there would be no reason to paint. The whole answer is there on the canvas.”
The artist’s boyhood home is part of that “canvas,” a source of the light, real and figurative, that was Hopper’s painting harmony. After the deaths of Edward and his wife, the painter Josephine Nivison, the house was rescued by local residents who organized a committee to obtain incorporation in 1971 as the Edward Hopper Landmark Preservation Foundation. For 40 years, this non-profit organization, its trustees and members have contributed time, expertise, labor and donations to maintain 82 North Broadway as an multi-arts center; to keep an archive of Hopper documents and memorabilia; to serve as a resource for scholars, art historians and art lovers worldwide; and to encourage and nurture community engagement with the arts.
The Edward Hopper House is celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2011, presenting "The Year of Edward Hopper," a series of special events and exhibits honoring the painter and his legacy. Highlight of the year will be a major exhibition of his early work, entitled "Edward Hopper, Prelude: The Nyack Years," scheduled from May 21 to July 17.
Before Prelude unfolds, Hopper House will mount a photographic show, “Hopperesque: Realism and Light,” from February 12 through March 27. To launch the exhibition, Co-Curators Art Gunther and Ken Karlewicz began an international search for photographs inspired by Hopper’s use of light, his color saturation, his take on realism and his view of American solitude. Thirty-three photographers from Rockland as well as Europe and Australia were selected to express photographically how Edward Hopper got into their artistic souls.
So, if you are anywhere near this New York part of the universe, come on by and see Hopperesque. If you can’t, go look at some Edward Hopper works and be inspired in your own way.