Critical Essay #4- Edward Hopper


Edward Hopper, an American realist painter and printmaker used oil to paint “Girls on the Pier.” This piece of art is located at the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth and the exhibition is called “Hopper Drawing: A Painter’s Process.” This exhibit focused on bringing together all of his drawings and paintings. I became interested this piece, “Girls on the Pier” because of the abstract shapes and colors that he used. This painting does a good job of expressing color saturation, shapes, lines and balance.

Hopper uses bright colors, such as: yellow, green and red. He uses different shades of each color to create value. The variety of the different colors makes it appealing to the eye. He makes the woman’s hat yellow, which draws attention to the two women on the pier. The darkness of the landscape creates a big contrast with the light sky. The big white brush strokes in the sky give a kind of contrast so that the sky isn’t just blue it has some light and darker parts in in. The color choices he uses all seem to go together making it subtle but still drastic.

The lines that he uses create angles that make the image look proportional. All of the brush strokes that he uses create lines, which give the image an abstract look. This painting is very basic and simple; there aren’t many details to get caught up in. He paints in different angles to create shapes making the bridge look like wood. The wall that surrounds the houses in the background makes an angle with the bridge, putting the two women in the center. This acute angle is interesting and created carefully to emphasize the women. The way the he painted using such different stroke sizes gives an implied texture that the wood isn’t smooth.

Another element he uses is shape. He creates the two women using geometric shapes, such as simple circles for the face. The face has no facial features, which also gives it an abstract look.

He balances this painting by centering the two women. He puts a bridge on one side but then balances it out with the trees and houses on the other. He puts buildings off center and off the page so that not everything is completely on the page.

I like this painting because it’s very simple and not complicated. We can pretty much tell exactly what is going on in the painting without needing details such as facial features or a technical background. He makes it relaxing by painting the sky a light color and even adding a sun to make us think of a normal day on the pier. I’d say it is an abstract painting because of the big shapes that he incorporates into it. The colors are all so very different but he uses them in ways that don’t overwhelm us into not knowing what is going on. The different brush strokes also interests me and makes me want to experiment freely painting instead of making sure each stroke blends together.