He trained under Robert Henri, 1900-06, and between 1906 and 1910 made three trips to Europe, though these had little influence on his style. Hopper exhibited at the Armoury Show in 1913, but from then until 1923 he abandoned painting, earning his living by commercial illustration. Thereafter, however, he gained widespread recognition as a central exponent of American Scene painting, expressing the loneliness, vacuity, and stagnation of town life. Yet Hopper remained always an individualist: `I don't think I ever tried to paint the American scene; I'm trying to paint myself.'
Edward Hopper painted American landscapes and cityscapes with a disturbing truth, expressing the world around him as a chilling, alienating, and often vacuous place. Everybody in a Hopper picture appears terribly alone. Hopper soon gained a widespread reputation as the artist who gave visual form to the loneliness and boredom of life in the big city. This was something new in art, perhaps an expression of the sense of human hopelessness that characterized the Great Depression of the 1930s.
Edward Hopper has something of the lonely gravity peculiar to Thomas Eakins, a courageous fidelity to life as he feels it to be. He also shares Winslow Homer's power to recall the feel of things.