Nighthawks or The Nighthawks

size(cm): 60x120
Sale price£281 GBP


Edward Hopper said that his painting The Night Owls was inspired by "a restaurant on New York's Greenwich Avenue where two streets meet," but the image, with its carefully constructed composition and lack of narrative, has a timeless and universal quality that transcends your private place.

Halcones Nocturnos (Nighthawks), one of the best-known images of 20th-century art, the painting depicts an all-night restaurant where three patrons have gathered, all lost in their own thoughts.

Hopper's understanding of the expressive possibilities of the play of light in simplified forms gives the painting its beauty. Fluorescent lights had only just come into use in the early 1940s, and the all-night restaurant casts an eerie glow, like a beacon on a dark street corner.

Hopper removed any reference to an entrance, and the viewer, drawn in by the light, is excluded from the scene by a seamless glass wedge. The four anonymous and uncommunicative night owls seem as separate and remote from the viewer as they are from each other.

Hopper denied intentionally infusing this or any other of his paintings with symbols of human isolation and urban emptiness, but acknowledged that in Nighthawks "unconsciously, probably, I was painting the loneliness of a big city."

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