Mr. Melancholy (Americana edition)

While I’m still struggling with jetlag, excuse me for some more non-wonky less-enviro posts…here’s an etching by perhaps the greatest American artist of melancholy, Edward Hopper.

And here’s what I learned about melancholy while on vacation in Turkey.

For the Turks, melancholy is a collective phenomenon that they call huzun. Orham Pamek, in his great book Istanbul: Memories and the City, discusses how residents share this mood, and the strange group reassurance it offers. We see that in this country, too, sometimes. Surely everyone here knows the great Hopper painting "Nighthawks at the Diner."

But here’s another one, an early work by Hopper before he became a full-blown painter, in which the sweep of the wind and the vulnerability of the central figure, looking out at the city, become something bigger — something more touching. I love this work. Visitors heading to New York can see a small collection of these etchings, I hear, and I envy them the opportunity…this one is called Evening Wind.


Published by Kit Stolz

I'm a freelance reporter and writer based in Ventura County.

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