Blue Monday

Floyd D. Hopper (American, 1909-1984)

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• The painting’s title certainly refers to the sense of dejection expressed by many American artists active during the difficult years of the Depression and World War II.

• The subdued colors of the sky and weathered buildings, as well as the obscured faces of the figures, contribute to the grim mood. The sheets, flapping vigorously in the wind, animate the composition and add a chill to the scene.

• Indianapolis artist Floyd Hopper painted this canvas in 1940, the same year he earned his second degree from the Herron Art Institute.

Indiana

Floyd Hopper was born in Martin County, Indiana. After graduating from West Baden High School in 1929, Hopper attended the John Herron Art Institute in Indianapolis, graduating in 1933. Hopper was the founder of the Noblesville Casting Company as well as an artist who painted watercolor landscapes, commissioned portraits and the American scene with its backyards, alleyways, city streets and workers. He also taught fine art at the Herron Art School and the Art League.

Hopper painted Blue Monday the same year he received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Herron. The painting’s title almost certainly refers to the gloomy mood Hopper achieved in his depiction of a backyard in a rural community at the end of the Depression. Hopper’s use of color powerfully evokes the harsh quality of the scene. A pale, dead yellow covers the dried grass and weathered buildings, shadows are painted in the brown color of used motor oil, and the sky is a smear of smoky tones. Echoing the blank faces of the men and women is the blank face of the house in the left background.

Reference

The Edge of Town: Painting the Indiana Scene, 1932-1948, Indianapolis: Indianapolis Art League, 1989. A copy of this catalog can be found in the artist’s file in the IMA’s Stout Library.

Object Information

artist
Floyd D. Hopper (American, 1909-1984)
creation date
1940
materials
oil on board
dimensions
23-3/4 x 36 in. (board)
32 x 43-3/4 x 2-1/4 in. (framed)
mark descriptions
Signed, l.r.: F.D. Hopper
accession number
2001.355
credit line
Bequest of Mrs. Floyd Hopper
copyright
© Floyd D. Hopper
collection
American Painting and Sculpture to 1945
colors

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