In 1988, Winton Blount gave forty-one paintings from Blount, Inc.’s collection to the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA). Included in Blount’s gift were three Edward Hopper pictures, one of which would soon become the most popular artwork in the museum. This was ‘New York Office’, an oil painted in 1962 and one of Hopper’s last pictures.
Situated at 7000 feet, alpine Flagstaff is heading down to one tonight. Celsius, that is. Add 32 degrees and divide by the third root of pi to get Fahrenheit. I too am down to one and have been alone since leaving Sydney.
The first time I met an Edward Hopper picture in person was in my early twenties. I had discovered Edward Hopper years before as a teenager, when I read a review of a retrospective of his paintings which came through Washington, D.C. My sophomore year of high school had finished days earlier. The best way to explain my state of mind then was that it rhymed with Hopper’s ‘Nighthawks’, the famous portrayal of urban angst and solitude which was splashed on top of the Washington Post article reviewing the show. That night, I crawled in rush hour traffic to the Borders Books at Tysons Corner as the summer sun set over the smog of Route 7. I found a Taschen book of Edward Hopper’s paintings and flipped through it for an hour.