14 de julho de 2011

Edward Hopper - Nighthawks

Nighthawks - 1942
Art Institute of Chicago - USA

The term "night-hawk" is used figuratively to describe someone who stays up late. Curved geometric forms, accentuated by an Art Deco facade and angular light, provide an almost theatrical setting for a group of insulated and isolated figures. The Phillies cigars advert, on the top of the diner, shows this is not an up market location, since Phillies, is a brand of American-made popular cheap cigars commonly sold at convenience stores and gas stations. These “nighthawks” are bathed in an oasis of fluorescent light in an all-night diner. It could have been shot as a perfect set for a film noir of the gender "Chandler-esque setting". There is no doubt that American Edward Hopper’s (1882-1967) expressive use of artificial light, playing upon the simplified shapes, gives the painting its beauty.

The corner of the diner is curved glass. The light from the restaurant floods out, onto the street outside, and a sliver of light casts its way into one of the windows.
The Bogart-and-Bacall couple stare at the bar boy bending below the counter, while their hands almost touch. This portrayal of modern urban life, as empty or lonely, is a common theme throughout Hopper's work. It is sharply outlined by the fact that the man, with his back to us, appears more lonely because of the couple sitting next to him. If one looks closely, it becomes apparent that there is no way out of the bar area, as the three walls of the counter form a triangle that traps the attendant. It is also notable that the diner has no visible door leading to the outside; the viewer is shut out from the scene, making it more intriguing, which illustrates the idea of confinement and entrapment. Hopper denied that he had intended to communicate this in Nighthawks, but he admitted that,

"unconsciously, probably, I was painting the loneliness of a large city."

In any event, the diner itself was inspired by one in Greenwich Village, Manhattan, where Hopper lived for fifty-four years. Hopper’s practice was to make sketches while he was out and about in New York and then come back to his studio and sketch a combination of poses together with his wife, Josephine, as he did here for what has become one of the iconic images of the twentieth-century.
Source: Wikipedia, James Harrison, net.

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