If you have a bucket list, add seeing the painting Nighthawks by Edward Hopper in the Art Institute of Chicago.
Hopper's iconic painting done in 1942 is one of the most recognizable paintings in American art. Hopper and his wife Jo attended an exhibit of paintings by Henri Rousseau at the Museum of Modern Art - about a month after Nighthawks was hung in a New York gallery - and in attendance was Daniel Catton Rich, the director of the Art Institute of Chicago and Alfred Barr, the director of MOMA. Jo told Barr he just had to go see Edward's new painting Nighthawks. It was Rich who went to see it shortly after and purchased it for $3000 and the painting has hung in the Art Institute ever since.
Mark Rothko was a complex, educated man and it would be futile for me to even begin to analyze his paintings, especially the color fields in his abstract expressionism works. I will include a quote from Rothko that does it for me - "The fact that people break down and cry when confronted with my pictures shows that I can communicate those basic human emotions. The people who weep before my pictures are having the same religious experience I had when painting them. And if you say you are moved only by their color relationships then you miss the point."
A young man stands before Mark Rothko's Untitled, (Purple, White and Red) in the Art Institute of Chicago.
"You should keep on painting no matter how difficult it is, because this is all part of experience, and the more experience you have, the better it is... unless it kills you, and then you know you have gone too far." ~ Alice Neel
"If I had the energy, I would have done it all over the country" - Edward Hopper
"It's what you carry to an object that counts." - Andrew Wyeth
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"When I'm old and gray, I want to have a house by the sea. And paint. With a lot of wonderful chums, good music, and booze around. And a damn good kitchen to cook in."