A Quiet Moment

Feb 8, 2011

I’ve always been moved by the subtlety of Edward Hopper. The way he carefully constructed diagonals and shapes in so many of his paintings (Nighthawks, is a great example) brought a great modern aesthetic to his realism. The way he painted hope through a filter of melancholy always summed up what it is like to be a child of the twentieth century. I always think of Hopper when I look at the houses in today’s photo. The archetypal setting, the muted color scheme, the little teacup shrubs, the wonderful lines, lines and more lines would have been great if translated by Hopper’s brush.

Art historians always speak of the way Hopper’s works exist in “quiet moments.” Art scholar Deborah Lyons said it well, “Our own moments of revelation are often mirrored, transcendent, in his work.” Hopper found epiphany in the mundane.

It’s in the Hopper spirit that I study South Pasadena. The classic American symbols here are set pieces for our own revelations. Our ordinary things –the Craftsman houses, the topiary bushes, the mid-century driveways promising freedom and adventure not far from home — have been quietly beside us in our moments of grace and wonder. They provided a backdrop for generations of lovely, commonplace history. They still do.

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