“There is a famous painting, Nighthawks, by Edward Hopper. I am in love with that painting. Sometimes, I think everyone is like the people in that painting, everyone lost in their own private universe of pain and sorrow or guilt, everyone remote and unknowable. The painting reminds me of you. It breaks my heart.”
(“Aristotle and Dante discover the secreats of the Universe”, Benjamin Alire Sáenz.)
Hopper was fascinated by what isn’t available to our senses. In his mysterious paintings, he makes felt what isn’t there, the nothing, the nothing that isn’t there. He was known to be solitary and thoughtful, like the blond woman in New York Movie. In the forties and fifties, it was easier to appreciate solitude than it is today. Hopper painted public places, rooms where people gathered, but usually with a few people or nobody in the rooms. Few people in those days went to museums during the week, and the galleries might be vacant.
You could stand before a painting for long minutes and not hear voices. There was silence in those days. It was associated with solitude, sacredness, internal life.