Sea paintings we love: Edward Hopper's 'Ground Swell' (1939)

Edward Hopper (1882-1967) 'Ground Swell' (1939) oil painting on canvas

I've only recently discovered this beautiful Edward Hopper (1882-1967) oil painting 'Ground Swell' (1939). It's quite popular on the wikiart site which classifies it as social realism.

That's kind of interesting. A term like that is so loaded with assumptions. Generally the artists who are social realists have a specific political agenda to tell stories about 'classes' of people they consider to be oppressed or unrepresented in their culture- to alter the consciousness of those that view it. I don't really see how it can be applied to Hopper's style unless the term just reflects the fact that there's a group of people socializing on a yacht in a vaguely real setting.

Hopper really has no political agenda to push at all from what I can see. To me his work is deeply personal. And he's not particularly real. His waves look slightly like blue concrete. But it doesn't matter. Always that mysterious side light. It's not like sunlight really it's like some huge torchlight being shone by some huge being/god off in the distance. And maybe that's right for the classical hardness of the male figures. An ordinary journey is taking place but with echoes of ancient ones.



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