painting - Nighthawks
Photograph by Noah Scalinon Flickr.
Another Photorealist, Richard Estes, painted a corner store in People s Flowers (1971), but in daylight, with the shop s large window reflecting the street and sky. More direct visual quotations began to appear in the 1970s. Poverino Peppino parodied this image in Boulevard of Broken Ducks (1993), in which a contented crocodile lies on the counter while four ducks stand outside in the rain. The Mission, Kansas, coffeehouse Nighthawks, noted for staying open as late as 3 a.m., is ostensibly named after the painting. .
The camera zooms out showing Nighthawks with Red and Kitty wearing the suit and red dress, respectively, of the man and woman sitting together. The 1998 VeggieTales episode The End of Silliness? takes place in a cafe parodying the painting. The 2006 Christmas special Holidaze: The Christmas That Almost Didn t Happen features a scene set in a Nighthawks-style diner. A 2009 episode of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? included a question about the painting: What cigar brand is advertised across the top of the building? (It s Phillies). It is considered Hopper s most famous painting, as well as one of the most recognizable in American art.
Nighthawks is a 1942 painting by Edward Hopper that portrays people sitting in a downtown diner late at night. After this event there was a widespread feeling of gloominess across the country, a feeling that is portrayed in the painting.
It is currently in the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago. The term night-hawk , like night owl , is used figuratively to describe someone who stays up late. An advertisement for Phillies cigars is featured on top of the diner. Many artists have produced works that allude or respond to Nighthawks.
The cover art is a photograph of Waits in a diner. Nighthawks has been widely referenced and parodied in popular culture. An early example is George Segal s sculpture The Diner (1964-1966), made from parts of a real diner with Segal s white plaster figures added, which resembles Nighthawks in its sense of loneliness and alienation, as well as in its subject matter.
His age is indeterminate. The corner of the diner is curved; curved glass connects the large expanse of glass on its two sides. Nighthawks and other works such as Night Shadows (1921) also anticipate the look of film noir, whose development Hopper may have influenced. The period picture The Sting, which takes place in the 1930s, has a night time scene in a diner with a strong resemblance to Nighthawks .
Roger Brown, one of the Chicago Imagists, included a view into a corner cafe in his painting Puerto Rican Wedding (1969), a stylized nighttime street scene. The cover also parodies the painting by featuring all of the patrons at the diner being replaced by the main characters from the strip. Comic book characters who have appeared in Nighthawks-inspired diners include the Human Torch in an Alex Ross panel in the graphic novel Marvels, Batman s Commissioner Gordon (in Batman: Year One, Gordon appears in a diner very similar to the one in Nighthawks; the name of the diner can be seen as HOPPER, referencing the painter), Spider Jerusalem, X-Factor and The Tick. One parody of Nighthawks even inspired a parody of its own.
The diner s sole attendant, looking up from his work, appears to be peering out the window past the customers. Michael Bedard s painting Window Shopping (1989), part of his Sitting Ducks series of posters, replaces the figures in the diner with ducks and shows a crocodile outside eying the ducks in anticipation.
If one looks closely, it becomes apparent that there is no way out of the bar area, as the three walls of the counter form a triangle that traps the attendant. The scene was inspired by a diner (since demolished) in Greenwich Village, Hopper s home neighborhood in Manhattan.
She has him purchase her a shirt with the original painting of Nighthawks on it. Pennies from Heaven features a scene reproducing the painting, with Steve Martin and Bernadette Peters characters as the couple at the counter. The couple s noses resemble beaks, perhaps a reference to the title.
The light from the restaurant floods out onto the street outside, and a sliver of light casts its way into one of the windows. This portrayal of modern urban life as empty or lonely is a common theme throughout Hopper s work. It is also notable that the diner has no visible door leading to the outside, which illustrates the idea of confinement and entrapment.
Hopper was an acknowledged influence on the film musical Pennies from Heaven (1981), in which director Ken Adams recreated Nighthawks as a set. Noted surrealist horror film director Dario Argento went so far as to recreate the diner and the patrons in Nighthawks as part of a set for his 1975 film Deep Red (also known as Profondo Rosso). Several writers have explored how the customers in Nighthawks came to be in a diner at night, or what will happen next. It is sharply outlined by the fact that the man with his back to us appears more lonely because of the couple sitting next to him.
The now-vacant lot is known as Mulry Square, at the intersection of Seventh Avenue South, Greenwich Avenue, and West 11th Street. Hopper began painting it immediately after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Sunday, December 7, 1941. Weather is understood to be warm, based on clothing worn by the patrons.
Across the street are what appear to be open windows on the second story. Hopper influenced the Photorealists of the late 1960s and early 1970s, including Ralph Goings, who evoked Nighthawks in several paintings of diners.
No overcoats are in evidence; the woman s blouse is short-sleeved. Perhaps the best known is Gottfried Helnwein s painting Boulevard of Broken Dreams (1984), widely sold as a poster, which replaces the three diner patrons with American pop culture icons Humphrey Bogart, Marilyn Monroe, and James Dean, and the attendant with Elvis Presley. Hopper was an avid moviegoer, and critics have noted the resemblance of his paintings to film stills.
Two are a couple, while the third is a man sitting alone, with his back to the viewer. The urban street is empty outside the diner, and inside none of the three patrons is apparently looking or talking to the others; all are lost in their own thoughts.
Wolf Wondratschek s poem Nighthawks: After Edward Hopper s Painting imagines the man and woman sitting together in the diner as an estranged couple: I bet she wrote him a letter/ Whatever it said, he s no longer the man / Who d read her letters twice. Tom Waits s album Nighthawks at the Diner (1975) features Nighthawks-inspired lyrics. Versions of it have appeared on posters, T-shirts, and greeting cards, as well as in comic books and advertisements. In Hard Candy, the diner at which Hayley meets Jeff is called Nighthawks.
Turner Classic Movies uses the clip in their Open All Night interstitial, with a neon TCM logo attached the corner of the building. The painting is one of the artworks brought to life in the 2009 film Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian. Featured in Ferris Bueller s Day Off during a visit to the Art Institute of Chicago. The television series That 70s Show, have all placed their own characters in versions of Nighthawks. In the That 70s Show episode Drive In, a scene ends with Red and Kitty Foreman sitting in a diner when Kitty states that the moment seems familiar. Several of his paintings suggest gangster films of the early 1930s such as Scarface and Little Caesar, a connection that can be seen in the clothes of the customers in Nighthawks.