About Nighthawks Edward Hopper recollected, “unconsciously, probably, I was painting the loneliness of a large city.” In an all-night diner, three customers sit at the counter opposite a server, each appear to be lost in thought and disengaged from one another. The composition is tightly organized and spare in details: there is no entrance to the establishment, no debris on the streets. Through harmonious geometric forms and the glow of the diner’s electric lighting, Hopper created a serene, beautiful, yet enigmatic scene. Although inspired by a restaurant Hopper had seen on Greenwich Avenue in New York, the painting is not a realistic transcription of an actual place. As viewers, we are left to wonder about the figures, their relationships, and this imagined world.
Gail Levin, “Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks, Surrealism, and the War,” Art Institute of Chicago Museum Studies 22, 2 (1996), 180–95, fig. 1.
The Art Institute of Chicago: Twentieth–Century Painting and Sculpture, selected by James N. Wood and Teri J. Edelstein (Chicago: Art Institute of Chicago, 1996), 85, ill.
Judith A. Barter et al., American Modernism at the Art Institute of Chicago, From World War I to 1955 (Chicago: Art Institute of Chicago/Yale University Press, 2009), no. 133.
Nina Baym et al., eds., The Norton Anthology of American Literature, 8th edition (W. W. Norton & Company, 2012), ill.
Arthur Shimamura, Experiencing Art: In the Brain of the Beholder (Oxford University Press, 2013), 237 (ill.).
Derek Matravers, Introducing Philosophy of Art: In Eight Case Studies (Routledge, 2013), ill.
Duane Preble Emeritus et al., Prebles’ Artforms, 11th edition (Pearson, 2013), 428, ill.
Robert Burleigh, Edward Hopper Paints His World (Henry Holt and Co., 2014), ill.
Steven Mintz, The Prime of Life: A History of Modern Adulthood (Belknap Press, 2015), ill.
Ramsay H. Slugg, Handbook of Practical Planning for Art Collectors and Their Advisors (ABA Book Publishing, 2015), ill.
Judith A. Barter, ed. America After the Fall: Painting in the 1930s, exh. cat. (Chicago: Art Institute of Chicago/Yale University Press, 2016), fig. 3, 178.
Paintings at the Art Institute of Chicago, Highlights of the Collection (Chicago: Art Institute of Chicago/Yale University Press, 2017), 135.
Judith A. Barter, “Prolog: Eine neue Welt der Kunst” and Susanne Scharf, “Bilder von Amerika: Edward Hoppers Äesthetisierung des Alltäglichen,” in Es war einmal in Amerika – 300 Jahre US-amerikanische Kunst [Once Upon a Time in America: Three Centuries of American Art], eds. Barbara Schaefer and Anita Hachmann (Cologne: Wallraf-Richartz-Museum & Fondation Corboud/Wienand Verlag, 2018), 25, fig. 12 (ill.); 219, fig. 1 (ill.).
Art Institute of Chicago, The Fifty–third Annual Exhibition of American Paintings and Sculpture, Oct. 29–Dec. 10, 1942, cat. 132.
Art Institute of Chicago, The Fifty–fourth Annual Exhibition of American Paintings and Sculpture, Oct. 28–Dec. 12, 1943, cat. 15.
New York City, Whitney Museum of American Art, Edward Hopper: Retrospective Exhibition, Feb. 11–Mar. 26, 1950, cat. 61, pl. 28; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Apr. 13–May 14, 1950; Detroit Institute of Arts, June 4–July 2, 1950.
New York City, Wildenstein, Loan Exhibition of Seventy Twentieth Century American Paintings, Feb. 21–Mar. 22, 1952, cat. 54.
New York, Whitney Museum of American Art, Edward Hopper, Sept. 29–Nov. 29, 1964, cat. 43; Art Institute of Chicago, Dec. 18–Jan. 31, 1965.
Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio, Fifty Years of Modern Art, June 14–July 31, 1966, cat. 81.
New York City, Whitney Museum of American Art, Edward Hopper: The Art and the Artist, Sept. 23, 1980–Jan. 18, 1981, cat. 386; London, Hayward Gallery, Feb. 11–Mar. 29, 1981 (separate catalogue, cat. 96), Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, Apr. 22–June 17, 1981; Düsseldorf, Städtische Kunsthalle, July 10–Sept. 6, 1981; Art Institute of Chicago, Oct. 3–Nov. 29, 1981; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Dec16, 1981–Feb. 14, 1982.
Essen, Germany, Museum Folkwang, Edward Hopper und die Fotografie: die Warheit des Sichtbaren (Edward Hopper and Photography: The Truth of the Real), June 28–Sept. 27, 1992, p. 63, ill.
London, Tate Modern, Edward Hopper, May 27–Sept. 5, 2004; Cologne, Museum Ludwig, Oct. 9, 2004–Jan. 9, 2005.
New York, Whitney Museum of American Art, Oct. 3–Dec. 31, 2006.
Boston, Museum of Fine Arts, Edward Hopper, May 6–Aug. 19, 2007; Washington, DC, National Gallery of Art, Sept. 16, 2007–Jan. 21, 2008; Art Institute of Chicago, Feb. 16–May 11, 2008.
Madrid, Museo Thyssen–Bornemisza, Edward Hopper, June 12–Sept. 16, 2012; Paris, Galeries nationales d’exposition du Grand Palais, Oct. 5, 2012–Jan. 28, 2013 (Paris only).
New York, Whitney Museum of American Art, Edward Hopper Drawings, May 23–Oct. 6, 2013; Dallas Museum of Art, Nov. 17, 2013–Feb. 16, 2014; Minneapolis, Walker Art Center, Mar. 15–June 22, 2014 (New York only).
Art Institute of Chicago, Art and Appetite: American Painting, Culture, and Cuisine, Nov. 10, 2013–Jan. 27, 2014, cat. 28; Fort Worth, Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Feb. 22–May 18, 2014.
Shanghai Museum, Pathways to Modernism: American Art, 1865–1945, Sept. 28, 2018–Jan. 6, 2019, cat. 71.
Edward Hopper (1882–1967), 1942; consigned to Frank Rehn Galleries, 1942; sold to the Art Institute of Chicago, 1942.
Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.