Blackwell Island is a 1928 painting by Edward Hopper. The painting offers a view of today's Roosevelt Island in the East River of Manhattan. It depicts Roosevelt Island before much of the skyline was altered by modern buildings. Only a few structures remain today of what is depicted in the painting. Features The painting presents a vast area of blue sky above the cobalt blue water below, divided by an ominous skyline and shaded by buildings all along the island's waterfront. See more
In typical Hopper style, there is a distance between the viewer and the distant architectural subjects. There is no humanity in the image, except for a single person who is boating away from the viewer towards the right edge of the frame. The painting embodies the best of his work at the peak of his art. He painted a complex set of architectural designs with maximum light and shadow.
Edward Hopper is one of the major figures of the American realist movement, with paintings such as House by the Railroad (1925) and Nighthawks (1942).
Born in 1882 in New York State, Edward Hopper entered the prestigious New York School of Art after his secondary education. He moved to New York in 1908 where he was hired as an illustrator for advertising campaigns. He soon tired of the job and exhibited paintings in his spare time. See more
Around 1915, he painted scenes of American life and in 1920, he presented his first exhibition at the Whitney Studio Club, which was a great success. In 1924 he married Josephine Verstille Nivison.
His particular style, made of simple forms and rather dark colours, plays on the contrasts between light and shadow. Hopper managed to diversify his realistic approach, with staged landscapes, sometimes urban and sometimes rural. The characters he paints often inspire an impression of solitude and exclusion. Most of his oil paintings reflect a country in the throes of economic and social change. In 1945, Edward Hopper was admitted to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He received numerous awards and honours, including the title of Doctor of Fine Arts from the Art Institute of Chicago in 1955.