32¢ American Realism
Celebrate the Century – 1920s
Issue Date: May 28, 1998
City: Washington, DC
Printed By: Ashton-Potter (USA) Ltd
Printing Method: Lithographed
Realistic art developed in America as a result of opposition to the more sentimental and academic works that had been popular in previous years. Traditional paintings had, to a great extent, become stale and artificial. More than just a reaction against the pretty world of romantic art, realism represented a desire by artists to provide an accurate portrayal of human life.
American realists drew attention to the feelings of alienation and introspection by painting street scenes, portraits, and landscapes. The works were based on honest, unbiased observations.
The art of Edward Hopper (1882-1967) is among the finest work of the period. Born in Nyack, New York, Hopper worked as a commercial artist and illustrator in New York City for many years. It wasn’t until after reaching the age of 40 that he was able to fully concentrate on painting.
Hopper manipulated patterns of light and shade to convey emotion, while omitting distracting details. Ordinary views of restaurants, lighthouses, storefronts, and movie theaters were depicted in his works. People weren’t included in many of Hopper’s paintings, and even those that show people suggest feelings of isolation and loneliness.