nighthawks edward hopper meaning
Midnight Ride of Paul Revere (1931) by Grant Wood.
Iconic American history painting.
The picture took about six weeks to complete and was completed on January 21st, 1942. Within months it was sold to the Art Institute of Chicago for $3,000. After gallery commission fees and costs, Hopper’s share was just under $2,000.
Moss located a land-use map in a 1950s municipal atlas showing that “Sometime between the late ’30s and early ’50s, a new diner appeared near Mulry Square”. Specifically, the diner was located immediately to the right of the gas station, “not in the empty northern lot, but on the southwest side, where Perry Street slants”. That map is not reproduced in the Times article but is shown on Moss’s blog. 
That reference has led Hopper aficionados to engage in a search for the location of the original diner. The inspiration for the search has been summed up in the blog of one of these searchers: “I am finding it extremely difficult to let go of the notion that the Nighthawks diner was a real diner, and not a total composite built of grocery stores, hamburger joints, and bakeries all cobbled together in the painter’s imagination”.  A Bickford’s Restaurant a few blocks from Greenwich Avenue has been proposed as one possible location.” 
The four anonymous and uncommunicative night owls seem as separate and remote from the viewer as they are from one another. (The red-haired woman was actually modeled by the artist’s wife, Jo.) Hopper denied that he purposefully infused this or any other of his paintings with symbols of human isolation and urban emptiness, but he acknowledged that in Nighthawks “unconsciously, probably, I was painting the loneliness of a large city.”
Nighthawks is a 1942 painting by Edward Hopper that portrays people sitting in a downtown diner late at night. It is Hopper’s most famous work and is one of the most recognizable paintings in American art. Within months of its completion, it was sold to the Art Institute of Chicago for $3,000, and has remained there ever since.
Great art is the outward expression of an inner life in the artist, and this inner life will result in his personal vision of the world. – Edward Hopper
Harsh fluorescent lights bleed onto the darkened streets of New York City, whilst four supposed strangers sit around the counter of a late-night diner; physically close yet psychologically miles apart. The very essence of human vulnerability throbs like an exposed vein in Hopper’s masterpiece, capturing the all-consuming solitude of modern life. Even before smartphones took over any attempt at real human interaction, Hopper’s iconic painting reveals our inability to connect in the early 1940s.
How does film noir factor into the meaning of Nighthawks by Edward Hopper? What is film noir? Translated from French as “black film,” the term Film noir is usually used to describe a kind of murder mystery movie that was very popular in Hollywood in the 1940s and early 1950s, the same decade Nighthawks was painted. What does film noir have to do with the meaning of the Edward Hopper painting?
In addition to his familiar cast of characters, Edward Hopper sets the stage for mystery with a classic film noir scene. Streetlights, nighttime settings, dark street fronts, after hours city diners and eerily empty, deserted streets all fit well with a typical film noir setting. As in a classic film noir, in Nighthawks Edward Hopper sets the scene for action that doesn’t seem to have taken place yet. Why does the artist include so much seemingly empty dead space outside of the diner? Hopper’s striking composition choices cause the viewer to search for a story and meaning in Nighthawks. Will the conspicuously solitary man sitting alone, looking down at the bar suddenly stand and catch the couple seated across from off-guard, holding them at gunpoint? Will an unmarked car drive by in the street outside?