All the Lonely People: Edward Hopper’s Imagery of Isolation and the Impact of his Work

Name: Jane Wight
Major: Art History
Advisor: John Siewert

Research Supported by the Copeland Fund

Edward Hopper is known as one of the most influential American Artists of the early modern and contemporary periods. Working from the early 1900s until his death in 1967, Hopper has a large body of work, a body of work that changes throughout his career and as he grows as an artist. This project looks at Hopper’s themes and motifs, which were fairly consistent across his entire career, such as the theme of loneliness, isolation, particularly in an American sense, and motifs such as windows, or scenes set in theaters and movie houses. Hopper’s art lives on through today as an inspiration for many other artists, those working traditional, such as the photographers Cindy Sherman and Gregory Crewsdon, or the painter Hughie Lee-Smith, as well as some who work in other forms of media, such as film and television. This project focuses on two directors in particular, David Lynch and Alfred Hitchcock, using Lynch’s Blue Velvet and Twin Peaks: The Return, and Hitchcock’s Rear Window as primary sources. Not only are these examples visually similar to the work of Edward Hopper, they also hold similar thematic elements, such as those of isolation and voyeurism. This research serves as an example of the many ways that Hopper’s art lives on through its own status as iconic American art, but also through the work of other artists and pieces of popular culture and media.

Posted in Comments Enabled, Independent Study, Symposium 2023 on April 13, 2023.

5 responses to “All the Lonely People: Edward Hopper’s Imagery of Isolation and the Impact of his Work”

  1. Prof. Claire Eager says:

    Congratulations, Jane! It was great to run into you today. Lynch and Hitchcock are two of my favorite directors, so it’s great to learn more about Hopper’s influence. Did you find any notable differences or changes in direction alongside the similarities?

  2. Prof. John Siewert says:

    Very impressive, Jane! Congratulations, again, this time for editing so much of your good material into such an effective poster. It convincingly makes a case for Hopper’s significance in American popular culture. You should be proud of all that you’ve accomplished!

  3. Tracy Cosgriff says:

    A fascinating project, Jane, with thoughtful consideration of Hopper’s influence on film in theory and practice. Congratulations on this wonderful and interesting work!

  4. Lily Barnett says:

    Congratulations sweet Jane!! I love your discussion of Hopper’s primary themes through the use of motif, as-well-as your ability to identify how his work influenced more recent forms of visual media. I would love to read more of your analysis. You should be so proud of yourself!!

  5. Mark Graham says:

    I really appreciated the opportunity to chat with you at the poster session today, and to view your work again here. Thank you for doing this work and for sharing it here!