Blackwell’s Island (1928) by Edward Hopper

Blackwell's Island - Edward Hopper - 1928

Artwork Information

TitleBlackwell's Island
ArtistEdward Hopper
Date1928
Mediumoil,canvas
Dimensions87.63 x 151.13 cm
Art MovementNew Realism
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About Blackwell's Island

The artwork “Blackwell’s Island” was created by Edward Hopper in 1928, utilizing oil on canvas as his medium. This piece measures 87.63 cm in height and 151.13 cm in width. Hopper’s painting is an exemplar of the New Realism art movement and falls under the cityscape genre, depicting an urban scene with particular attention to realistic presentation and form.

In the artwork, one observes a composed yet dynamic view of Blackwell’s Island, known today as Roosevelt Island, situated in the East River of New York City. The scene is depicted from a vantage point across the water, offering a panoramic perspective of the island’s structures. The painting captures a series of old institutional and industrial buildings against the backdrop of a vast sky with scattered clouds, a quintessential element of Hopper’s style.

The canvas is characterized by a predominantly cool color palette, with heavy emphasis on blues and greys, which set the tone of the water and the sky. The water in the forefront shows signs of activity, with noticeable waves and ripples, indicating movement—an aspect further emphasized by a small, white motorboat cutting through the water, creating a dynamic juxtaposition against the stationary backdrop. This hint of life and activity contrasts starkly with the solidity and silence of the buildings.

Hopper’s architectural forms are solid, with noticeable geometric shapes and minimal detailing, capturing the essence of the structures rather than their specifics. There is a notable contrast in color saturation, with small areas of vivid greens and yellows on buildings providing a visual relief from the more subdued tones dominating the scene. The use of light and shadow in the artwork is subtle yet effective, casting a mood that is both tranquil and contemplative, reflective of the artist’s often lonely and introspective approach to scenery. Hopper’s work, including “Blackwell’s Island,” is celebrated for its capacity to evoke solitude and the quiet significance of the commonplace scenes of American life.

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