Friday, June 18, 2010

Hand of Nighthawks

Suppose I’m in danger of being accused of putting up a maze of odd or pedantic blog posts over the past couple of weeks, but I’m a slave to the threads and potholes of the day. Bits and pieces of esoteric crap, mundane scraps. Whatever…

For the past week I’ve kept a close watch on the blog, Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York, very much interested in the ongoing discussion about the exact location of the diner in Edward Hopper’s 1942 masterwork, “Nighthawks.” One site under consideration is downtown on Greenwich Avenue in the Village and very near where I lived for several years in my twenties. And for this reason my mind is on Edward Hopper today.

I have long admired the art, or non-art of handwriting, always eye-out for a sample, whether heroic or imperfect. Would never dream of criticizing or ‘correcting’ any handwriting, and see it through the same eyes as novelist Jeffrey Deaver:

‘Handwriting is a part of a human being. It’s like our sense of humor or imagination. It’s one of the only things about people that survives their death. Writing can last for hundreds of years. Thousands. It’s about as close to immortality as we can get. Whatever somebody wrote is a reflection of who they are. It doesn’t matter how the words are made or what they say; it doesn’t matter if you’ve made a mistake, or if the words you wrote are nonsense. Just the fact that someone thought of the words and their hands put those thoughts on paper is what counts. Your handwriting is a fingerprint of your heart and mind.’

The photographs here give an example of a very famous hand, Edward Hopper.

Photograph (1) Hopper’s draft of a statement for the art journal, Reality (1953).

Photograph (2) Hopper study for “Route 6, Eastham” (1941).

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Oak Hill, Florida, United States
A longtime expat relearning the footwork of life in America