DescriptionEdward Hopper (American, 1882-1967)
Night Shadows, 1921
6-7/8 x 8-1/8 inches (17.5 x 20.6 cm)
Ed. approximately 500
Signed lower in pencil right: Edward Hopper
Printed by Peter Platt, New York
Published by The New Republic
Private collection, acquired from the above circa 1940;
Private collection, California, acquired from the above, 2010.
G. Levin, Edward Hopper: The Complete Prints, New York, 1979, n.p., pl. 82, another example illustrated.
Early in his career (1915-1923), when he was still relatively unknown as a painter, Edward Hopper focused on producing etchings and drypoints while also supporting himself as a commercial artist and illustrator. His printmaking efforts began to earn him recognition -- notably his nocturnal scenes such as Night Shadows of 1921, arguably his finest etching -- in which he used long strokes of etched line to portray a patch of raking light on an otherwise dark, nearly empty street. With its unusual vantage point suggesting a view from an upper-story window, the composition dwarfs the lone passerby into a state of vulnerability and assumes a voyeuristic, even ominous tenor. Details such as the long shadow of the streetlight blocking the man's path, and the gnarled shadow cast by the man himself presage the film noir style of the 1940s, with shadows conjuring narratives of crime, guilt, and betrayal. Like many of Hopper's works, Night Shadows presents modern life as pervaded by a sense of solitude and alienation.
Although the imagery of Night Shadows is characteristic of Hopper's work, this etching is unusual within his oeuvre in one respect. He normally printed his own works, in very small numbers; in this case, however, a commercial printer "steel-faced" the etching plate of Night Shadows for longer wear, and printed an edition of several hundred images. The resulting etchings were included in a folio titled "American Etchings," published in the December 1924 issue of the New Republic.
Sheet measures 11 x 12 inches and is secured to mount with archival corners; there appears to be the slightest overall paper discoloration and a few handling creases; in margins, there appears to be several tiny specks of possible accretion as well as restored loss at top and bottom edges and a few bumps along extreme edges, not visible when framed; otherwise, work remains in excellent condition; framed under acrylic. Framed Dimensions 14.25 X 15.25 Inches
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