Finding Hopper

Artist Created Iconic Diner
for Nighthawks of New York

Many searched for the place in the winding streets of Greenwich Village. Some looked for years for signs of its faded glory. But in the end, as in many works of art, what they were all after existed only in Edward Hopper‘s imagination.
That’s what Jeremiah Moss, the blogger behind the “Vanishing New York” site, has concluded about the painter’s “Nighthawks.” Its iconic, eerie, lonely depiction of a lost night in the big city framed many another dreamers’ imagination.
Some added Elvis, Marilyn, Dean, even Bogart to its roster of customers. But the painting always stood on its own in more ways than one, and now we all learned yet another reason why this was always the case.
Hopper himself once hinted it was but a composite, not a physical spot. It’s meaning had never much to do with the search for its location. Those who love the painting always knew what it was about and are certainly indifferent to its final revelation. But to Moss, the end of his archeological quest always had another meaning worth pursuing.
To the vanishing New York his site memorializes, the quest adds another layer of significance to such an iconic work of art, created by one of this city’s own.
Moss’s quest also informs our own quest for personal relevance within a past that, far from disappearing, reaffirms its permanence, even as the city never stops replacing corner after corner with the blood of new bricks and memories.

One thought on “Finding Hopper

  1. Luiz Peixe says:

    Edward Hopper was one of the very first american painters to work with modernity “aura”. As Walter Benjamin wrote, modern city is anxious, lonely (despite of the crowd) and ambiguous. The night (better saying the night life) was the iconic time of the modern city: an artificial nature created by eletric lights, where spaces (like bars) were the habitat of a new kind of men.
    Hopper also painted watercolored “marinas”, but he was great showing city people. I think so…


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