The VMFA is conveniently only two miles away from my house so I headed out without much of a plan. They had recently set up a new exhibition called “Edward Hopper and the American Hotel” which sounded interesting, so I decided to dive in. The initial emotions I felt while looking at many of his pieces were a sense of pensive loneliness and isolation. As I looked at more of his work, I felt as if each showed a short but detailed vignette of American people and their surroundings. The VMFA provided a “road map” which pieced his works together in a story of American life in the 20th century which I thought was helpful. Through reading this and other signs, I could see the different perspectives of hotels that Hopper was able to portray. He displayed motels, with cars parked visibly in the window, tourists resorts, and neighborhood hotels, each with a distinctive feeling connected to it. He spent much of his time on the road, so he was well acquainted with the hotel setting, and able to capture them in his work. He would observe the behaviors of these temporary residents and make sketches of people reading in the lobby or sitting on a simply made bed. Then, after careful consideration and planning, he would create longer term artworks in oil paint and watercolors. I am curious about if he uses models in his paintings or if he creates the images from his head. I also wonder if he preferred the scenes with or without figures. I admire the softened realism of his style and his carefully balanced compositions. Over time, his compositions became more simplified, emphasizing a feeling of emptiness and effectively putting the viewer in the setting of a hotel. Overall I appreciate his work and diversity of pieces he was able to create under this concept of american hotels.
I am a Maggie Walker art student in Richmond, Virginia. This blog section is a little window into my art process, research, and experiences. You can follow along with my journey as you scroll.