French Art Stamp Features American Painter Edward Hopper

Edward Hopper's Morning Sun (Soleil du matin) is the subject of the French postal administration's 1,45 Euro stamp, released on February 3, 2012. It is another in La Poste's long-running topical art stamp series that began in 1961 at the behest of then French minister of Culture Andre Malraux as part of his Musee Imaginaire (Museum of the Imagination).

Hopper (1882-1967) was an American Painter, born in Nyack, NY a small town about 20 miles north of New York City. As a young man he made several trips to Europe, spending considerable time in France ostensibly studying art. He created several significant paintings while in Paris, but somewhat famously denied that the city had a great influence on him. "Whom did I meet? Nobody. I'd heard of Gertrude Stein, but I don't remember having heard of Picasso at all."

Nevertheless, 2012 turns out to be a big year for Hopper in France, seeing both the issuance of the Morning Sun stamp and the first Parisian Edward Hopper retrospective exhibition at the National Galleries of the Grand Palais.

In his early years Hopper worked as a commercial artist. He did not like this work but did it to support himself. At one time he worked for an advertising agency doing trade magazine covers. He also made movie posters and during WWI he created a prize-winning poster for the war effort.

Hopper is known for realistic paintings that portray the middle class and depict the loneliness and isolation of city life. Morning Sun is part of that tradition. Using his wife Jo as a model, his picture shows a woman alone on a bed in a bleak, bare room. Although she is bathed in the morning sun, she shows no joy as her day begins. The emptiness of the room in powerful symbolism suggests the emptiness of her life.

A more cheerful Hopper painting, The Long Leg was the subject of a 2011 United States stamp. It shows a boat sailing against the wind near Provincetown off the tip of Cape Cod.

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