Between 1906 and 1910, Hopper made three trips to Paris. During his time there, he was attracted to the work of the Impressionist painters, and this influenced his painting style throughout his life. In fact, in 1962, he was quoted as saying “I think I’m still an Impressionist.”
Aside from these trips to Paris, Hopper never ventured outside of the United States. As a result, the paintings produced during this time, away from the familiar settings of urban and rural America, offer a different perspective of his work.
During his visits to the French capital, he painted many canvases of its streets and bridges. Of which, “The Bridge of Art,” is one example. This, oil on canvas, painting was created in 1907. Though not as instantly recognisable as some of his later work, it contains familiar elements of Hopper’s style, in particular, his use of light.
The painting shows one arch of the bridge, through which two ships can be seen. Behind these vessels, along the far side of the river, are various buildings. There are a number of people, walking along the bridge itself.
The sun is casting a shadow, of the bridge, on the near riverbank and a supporting pillar. Most of the river is in sunlight and painted in a light shade of blue. Beneath the bridge, the river is darker, and there is a splash of red, possibly the reflection of a setting sun. This is an early example of Hopper’s use of colour and shadow, which would be evident in much of his work, throughout his artistic career.
Although this work is not as “realistic” as many of Hopper’s paintings. “The Bridge of Art”, very successfully, depicts a sun-lit day spent on the banks of the River Seine.