Mom and I went to mfa boston to see the Edward Hopper exhibit! I must say, before going I didn't know any of his work other than being vaguely familiar with Night Hawks. Many of his paintings are of bright sun-lit spaces, but despite the initial cheery appearance, he chose to capture people isolated or alienated among other people, or alone in daily life. (Although I must emphasis that being 'alone' is not always the same as being 'lonely.') The stark urban and rural scenes are eerily realistic, showing desolate structures and sometimes painfully isolated people.
His work is really beautiful to me! I love the very straight lines and geometric shapes he sees created by sunlight and shadows, I love the snapshot-like effect of showing people in their daily settings, just going about their routine. I love that his paintings do have a melancholy tone about them that I can appreciate and understand even if I don't know the cultural significance of a woman wearing lipstick at lunchtime. (According to the recorded guide that went along with the exhibit, it IS significant) His urban scenes are gritty, posing the light inside against the dark outside, while his rural pieces seem more airy, light. There's an almost voyeuristic quality to some of his pieces, but he manages to pull it off as observational instead of creepy. He creates an almost tangible emotional setting.
There's a brick building on Main St here in Burly, and when the sun hits it right, it seriously looks like it fell right out of his canvas.
Images: Room in Brooklyn, 1932
Room in New York, 1932
Night Windows, 1928