Edward Hopper • Painting, 1942, 84.1×152.4 cm
About the artwork
This artwork was added since it is referred to in the materials below
Art form: Painting
Subject and objects: Genre scene
Style of art: Realism, Precisionism
Technique: Oil
Materials: Canvas
Date of creation: 1942
Size: 84.1×152.4 cm
Artwork in selections: 193 selections

Description of the artwork «Nighthawks»

The most famous painting by Edward Hopper "Nighthawks" has become virtually synonymous with his name. Written in that short period during the artist's life, when his works began to be sold and brought him worldwide fame, it, according to Hopper himself, is permeated with a sense of loneliness, which sometimes every person in a big city feels. In a city that, like a living organism, suffers, sings, laughs or, like here, rests after a hard day. For some reason, it seems that Hopper's painting depicts the most ordinary night of an unremarkable Thursday.

According to one of the versions put forward by Hopper's biographer Gail Levin, the artist was inspired to create "Night owls" by a painting by Van Gogh Night Terrace Cafe / Night Cafe in Arles (1888). A passionate lover of everything French, Hopper simply could not pass by the famous canvas, which was exhibited in New York in January 1942. But he interpreted the evening in the cafe in his own unique manner. The summer terrace with weightless tables has turned into a typical American diner with "aquarium" windows. And the lazy languor of a warm evening in Arles was replaced by a dreary, aching New York night.

According to another version (which has already become generally accepted), for the appearance of "Night owls" is to thank Ernest Hemingway and his story "The Assassins". The story is tiny, only three pages, and nothing happens in an ingenious way. Only dialogues very similar to those for which Quentin Tarantino's films are famous. If you stick to this version, you will notice that the artist changed from lunchtime to nighttime and introduced an additional character. And when in 1946 in Hollywood they decided to film The Killers, the basis for the film was Hopper's picture rather than Hemingway's story. This is supported not only by the typical hopper scenes used in the film, but also by the appearance of this most additional character. Because it is simply impossible to imagine a decent murder without the participation of the fatal beauty.

Author: Evgenia Sidelnikova