Edward Hopper: Man of Mysteries

Call it the Edward Hopper paradox. His art is easy to recognize but hard to pin down

Whitney Museum of American Art

Edward Hopper's Second Story Sunlight, 1960

Edward Hopper is one of those painters who are always there on the edge of your awareness. His famous canvases are constantly being reproduced. But when you come up against the real things, you discover that his work is even stranger and more haunted--more impregnable--than you remembered. That's the lesson of the mesmerizing Hopper show that has opened at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, where it remains until Aug. 19 before traveling to Washington and Chicago. That's also the Hopper paradox. He's the easy-to-read artist who's always just beyond our grasp.

It's been decades since Hopper was miscategorized as an...

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