Edward Hopper’s Summertime

hopper_summertime_550px Summertime, 1943
Edward Hopper (1882–1967)
Oil on canvas
29 1/8 x 44 inches
Gift of Dora Sexton Brown, 1962

Marking the end of the season, Edward Hopper’s Summertime has gone off view at the Delaware Art Museum. The painting is in Paris for a major retrospective exhibition that opens October 10 at the Grand Palais. Summertime joins Hopper’s most famous painting Nighthawks (1942, Art Institute of Chicago) and many others, as well as early illustrations, watercolors, and etchings. In the first section of the exhibition, devoted to Hopper’s development and early years, Hopper’s own works are joined by those that influenced him, including works by American artists John Sloan and Robert Henri and British painter Walter Sickert.

The second part of the exhibition, where Summertime is featured, displays Hopper’s mature masterpieces. The paintings are hung with lots of breathing room—often only one to a wall—in a light and airy space. Hopper’s stark and meticulously composed pictures benefit from this treatment. Like the artist’s solitary figures, the paintings each hold their own emotionally charged space. Etchings and watercolors are presented in separate rooms with lower light levels to preserve the works.

For the Delaware Art Museum, Summertime is one of the works most frequently requested for loans. Because it is the Museum’s only work by Hopper, we rarely agree to lend it out. (It was last lent out in 2007 for an exhibition in Boston and Washington, D.C.) The Museum agreed to this loan due to the exhibition’s ambitious checklist and the curator’s passionate and persistent pursuit. In Paris, Summertime will be featured on the cover of Arts magazine and seen by thousands in this eagerly awaited exhibition.

Heather Campbell Coyle
Curator of American Art 

This Curator Corner was posted on October 11, 2012.