Leonard Michaels on Edward Hopper and Solitude

by Florence Sunnen

“[Edward] Hopper was a painter of erotico-metaphysics as described by Plato. Hopper joked about being a philosopher, but he did read Plato. Like the ancient philosopher,  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.”

Leonard Michaels – “The Nothing that isn’t there” in: The Essays of Leonard Michaels

Edward Hopper – New York Movie (1939)

Edward Hopper – New York Movie (1939)