The Fondation Beyeler’s 2020 spring exhibition will show works by Edward Hopper (1882–1967), one of the 20th century’s most important American painters. Hopper was born in Nyack, New York. After training as an illustrator, he studied painting at the New York School of Art until 1906. Next to German, French and Russian literature, the young artist found key reference points in painters such as Diego Velázquez, Francisco de Goya, Gustave Courbet and Édouard Manet.
Although Hopper long worked mainly as an illustrator, today he is known primarily for his oil paintings, which attest to his deep interest in colour and his virtuosity in representing light and shadow. Hopper’s paintings are expressions of his unique perspective on modern life: petrol stations, houses, bars, lighthouses and boats, as well as interior views of homes, hotels and movie theatres. The few human figures that appear in his works often seem to be looking out from the painting, as if what is “happening” in the image were not accessible to the viewer. Invisible events seem to be taking place outside the picture.