When you read the name of American artist Edward Hopper, what comes to your mind first? In my case, the first images to strike would be those of solitary people sitting or standing in a film still like compositions, painted in intense colors and surrounded by the unmistakable sharp shadows. But there is so much more about his work than the world-known and acknowledged paintings. The major exhibition at The Fondation Beyeler in Basel is all about these less exhibited but equally enchanting artworks.
After arriving to the Euro Airport serving France, Germany and Switzerland I got to the Swiss exit and quickly reached my hotel in the center of Basel. Basel, same as the rest of Switzerland has an amazing transport system and in only 23 more minutes from there, thanks to the comfortable tram, I arrived to the oasis of arts that Fondation Beyeler is.
The idea of the present exhibition was born after “Cape Ann Granite” (1928) by Edward Hopper arrived to Fondation Beyeler to stay as a permanent loan. It is now displayed in one of the eight rooms dedicated to Edward Hopper in a first exhibition that brings together so many of his rural and urban landscapes from different periods of over fifty years long career as an artist.
I surely enjoyed the exhibition and learned about the whole new side (to me) of this iconic American artist of the 20th century. Of course, you can enjoy some of his well known and easily recognizable paintings like “Gas”(1940), “High Noon”(1949) or “Second Story Sunlight”(1960) but you can also view the whole room of drawings and watercolors that unlike his studio produced paintings, were usually created outdoors, sometimes even from the backseat of his car that he liked to drive around looking for an inspiration.
The additional highlight of the exhibition is an impressive 3D projection of a short film by the great film director Wim Wenders who happens to really admire Edward Hopper’s art. The film is modestly called “Two or Three things I know about Edward Hopper” but it is not a secret that Wim Wenders knows a lot about his art. Same as to Alfred Hitchcock , Edward Hopper’s paintings were an inspiration for at least one of Wim Wender’s movies too.
The truth is that after enjoying more than 60 works at the exhibition, even the evening sunshine looked inspiring and different after a rainy day in Basel. The walk around the surrounding park of The Fondation Beyeler suddenly became very cinematic and the only thing I can say to resume my notes is that some things are truly better seen than described.
Edward Hopper exhibition is the my favorite exhibition of the 2020 so far and I really recommend visiting it. It will be on view until the 17th on May 2020.