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EDWARD HOPPER Night Shadows.
Etching, 1921. 175x210 mm; 7x8 1/4 inches, full margins. Edition of approximately 500. Signed in pencil, lower right. Published by The New Republic, New York. A brilliant, luminous, richly-inked impression of this important etching, with very strong contrasts and no sign of wear.
Based in New York, Hopper (1882-1967) studied at the Institute of Art and Design and was instructed by prominent artists such as William Merrit Chase and Robert Henri, a progenitor of the Ashcan School of American Art. Though he traveled to Europe several times in the early 1900s when avant-garde movements like Cubism and Surrealism were receiving much attention, he was not greatly swayed by their influence and instead was attracted to the iconic works and dark palette of Rembrandt and other Old Masters. Hopper's work is characterized by a sense of silence and subtlety; he rarely depicted scenes of chaos or camaraderie.
He began making etchings and drypoints in 1915 with the help of fellow artist Martin Lewis, and he produced 70 prints before he ceased etching in 1928 to focus solely on painting. Night Shadows is a particularly iconic image, epitomizing Hopper's propensity for conveying isolation and stillness through the use of heavy chiaroscuro and strong, dark hatching throughout. He used a bird's-eye vantage point with extended shadows and darkness to intensify the suspense and drama.
The artist depicted this same street corner in a painting from 1913, Corner Saloon, now in The MoMA, New York. Unlike Hopper's other prints, which he printed himself on his personal press in very small editions, this is the only etching that was printed commercially, for The New Republic, New York, and published in a limited edition portfolio for their December 1924 issue. Levin 82.