According to the WSJ, Edward Hopper has never 'made it' in France - until now, that is. Alas, I cannot quote more fully from their report because 'my mate Rupe', in a fit of very unusual meanness(!), insists that I pay to enter, to which my reply is, like his hidden pages, unprintable! However, from the introductory paragraph I gather that there is an exhibition of Hopper's work in Paris and it is breaking all records despite the fact that "not a single Hopper painting hangs permanently in a museum in France". The exhibition has reached the halfway point and it's on its way to breaking the record set by that old phony, Picasso.
Since writing the above I have now discovered the whole article here so I can quote from it more freely. The writer, Matthew Curtin, suggests that the French (or, in my opinion, the French art elite!) ignored the American school of realism, of which Hopper was a major player, because it did not, like the American abstract painters, follow in due line from the "French avant-garde artists like Marcel Duchamp and Georges Braque". Also, of course, there is in France a deep and wide streak of disdain for all things American. However, it has slowly dawned on the French public that Hopper's paintings do not attempt to show a big and brash America, in fact, just the opposite, his paintings peel the cover off seedy America, the small commercial hotel rooms, the rail tracks, the less than glamorous bars, the bleak landscapes. Either the pictures are entirely empty of people, or, if they are present they nearly always avoid each other's gaze. Even the landscapes, usually of New England by the sea, are as flat and uninhabited and as eerily creepy as his city suburb paintings.
And yet . . . and yet . . . I, personally, cannot see enough of them. They are not comfortable to view, not least because they induce a feeling of introspection which, let's face it, most of us do not find easy to undertake. But the images are haunting, you wonder about these people and these places. Well, here are a few for you to consider. Let me know what you think.