Sunday, May 09, 2004

Only the Lonely

Not everything to be found on the pages of the Grauniad is tripe of the sort put out by Jonathan Watts. This profile of Edward Hopper's life and work by Annie Proulx is particularly good. Hopper rates very highly in my personal pantheon of great artists - much higher than either Picasso or Norman Rockwell, for sure. Maybe it's just me, but there's a certain commonality I see in the works of Edward Hopper and James McNeill Whistler, another American who transcended the conventional wisdom that "great" art must inevitably issue from the hands of European artists.

John Singer Sargent also rates very higly in my eyes, but more for the sheer beauty of his work and his ability to capture the feel of life amongst the upper classes of the Edwardian era; his art does not inspire in me the same sorts of contemplative moods that Hopper and Whistler's best paintings do. In any case, one could plausibly argue that the only thing that was American about Sargent was his passport.