Hopper vs. Homer

Hopper vs Homer

All through the month of February, general admission to the Art Institute of Chicago has been free. Special exhibits, like the Edward Hopper/Winslow Homer showing we were attending, were half off the regular price. So taking full advantage of the discount and the fact that it was a leap year, Apryl and I took in some culture Friday night. I have been a fan of Hopper since college when I was properly introduced to his work by my friend Anna. She used to have a few posters of his paintings in her apartment, and it was quite amazing to see the originals up close and personal. I was also interested to see the Homer collection since my former college professor had just recently produced a documentary about the artist. Below are a few photos from our afternoon visit:

Hopper Exhibit

The entrance to the Hopper exhibit.

Hopper and blank canvas

Edward Hopper posing in front of a blank canvas that would soon become Nighthawks.


The original Nighthawks. The first time I visited the museum, Nighthawks, which is in the permanent collection of the Institute, was on loan to the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York.

Homer exhibit entrance

The entrance to the Homer exhibit.

Hopper background

Since photography wasn’t allowed for the special exhibits, I wasn’t able to take photos of the paintings like I did in my last post about the Institute. And even though Nighthawks is part of the museum’s collection, I was surprised I still wasn’t thrown out when I photographed it. Well, at least warned. I did see someone about to get hassled for talking on his cellphone. Luckily, the guy left the exhibit on his own before the guard could get his attention.

As for the artists, I was most impressed with the work of Hopper. Homer’s paintings of the sea or wilderness hunts just don’t have the same effect as Hopper’s modern, cinematic view. However, I should say I was impressed with Homer’s early work such as his journalistic illustrations of the Civil War and a series he did on children while vacationing at a friend’s summer house. I was also amazed at how much skill Homer was able to achieve even without a formal education. Perhaps I enjoyed Hopper the most because I have had the most exposure to his work like Chop Suey, Automat, and New York Movie. Of all the Hopper pieces, I think I was surprised to enjoy Sun in an Empty Room the most. One of his last paintings, it simply shows the effect of light shining in the corner of an empty room. Most of Hopper’s paintings seem to be studies of how light, particularly a late afternoon sunset, create shadows along static images of man and his objects. And here with the Empty Room, it’s like he’s saying in his late career that sure he’s experimented with various settings and created any number of ambiguous story lines, but what it really comes down to is light. Anyway, I bought a postcard of it to send to my grandmother.

Afterwards, we ate a delicious meal at The Gage.

One Response to “Hopper vs. Homer”

  1. anna says:

    new york movie is my favorite

Leave a Reply