PARIS — A major Edward Hopper retrospective in Paris reveals that the 20th century painter famed for his rendering of American life drew inspiration from France.
The show's curator Didier Ottinger told the Associated Press on Monday that Hopper was ''a lifelong Francophile" who first visited Paris in 1906. That was just after an important exhibition of the influential Fauvism movement known for its strong use of color.
A woman looks at "Nighthawks, 1942", at right, as part of the retrospective of Edward Hopper, one of the great American 20th century artists at Paris’ Grand Palais Museum, in Paris, Monday, Oct. 8, 2012. Francois Mori — AP Photo
Ottinger said he clearly took influence from participating artists like Henri Matisse even though Hopper's palette is more muted. "You can see it in his large, solid color masses," he said.
The illuminating collection includes some 128 Hopper works - such as lonely masterpieces "Gas,""Hotel Room"and "Soir Bleu" - alongside 35 comparative works from French artists who influenced him.
A woman looks at "Office at night, 1940" - Francois Mori — AP Photo
Hopper, who died in 1967, took two other trips to the French capital in 1909 and 1910, exploring its salons and grand museums, such as the Louvre.
Among the other artists featured in the exhibit is Edgar Degas, whose work, the exhibit catalog suggests, encouraged Hopper to incorporate dramatic angles into his own paintings. This technique later became one of his artistic signatures, such as in his most famous work "Nighthawks" from 1942, which resembles a still from a film noir.
"He always used to say, even late in his life, that he was a post-Impressionist. France was so important for him," added Ottinger.
A woman looks at "Hotel room, 1931" - Francois Mori — AP Photo
The exhibit, which draws from collections in the United States, Spain and France, opens at Paris' Grand Palais Wednesday and runs through January 28.