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Monday, 20 February 2017

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David, I'm no expert, but probably you like the Hopper painting because it implies a story. The room is darkened and the woman is in a pose that suggests she's unhappy. Her face is shaded and she's looking away from the man who apparently has withdrawn to his newspaper. They might be at the end of an argument and the observer, who might have acted out a similar scene, wonders if there was an argument and what it might have been about. In short it stimulates the imagination.

Hockney's painting is of two bland men in a well-lit room. It might be a snapshot someone took on a whim and implies nothing on its own.

Analysing my visceral reaction:

The armchair in the Hopper picture looks comfortable.

The armchairs in the Hockney look more like the kind of furniture those people think they ought to be seen to own: but not comfortable. If I sit with my elbows at armpit level for any length of time, my shoulders complain afterwards.

The problem with Hockney is that he cannot draw or paint hands very well. Of course, few artists do them really well, but whenever I see a Hockney I find myself looking for the trick he uses in order to avoid painting them. In this one, he manages one reasonable foreshortened hand on Bachardy, but then hides his other. Isherwood has one flesh-coloured cylinder which conveniently disappears behind his knee, and something else which appears to have melted and dripped down the back of his chair.

With regard to the atmosphere and "story", I agree with Bob. Hopper is immensely atmospheric, and has produced a mystery that you might see from a stopped train or from an opposite apartment via binoculars. In Hockney's painting, Isherwood just looks grumpy because his gormless pretty-boy is ageing, and has also just let off a pungent fart.

Thank you, Gentlemen, especially 'W' because I had never noticed the 'hand weakness' in Hockney's work before.

Hopper's perspective is also interesting in that the observer seems to be floating 6 feet or so outside a window with a ledge that suggests it's not on the first floor. A Google image search for Edward Hopper paintings shows windows and doorways are used often. The view can be inward or the subject can be near or looking out of a window.

My taste in art is limited to mostly landscapes or black and white photos of large city scenes. An occasional detailed still life like the one to my right is ok too. The two above don't do anything for me.

I find Hopper's work fascinating. His characters always seem to have a secret or a story that intrigues me.
Hockney? I have never seen anything he has done to capture any feeling whatsoever. Reminds me of paint by numbers

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