From a Spectator USA online review:
Isolation was a persistent theme in Hopper’s art and life. Was he dogged by isolation or did he pursue it? ‘Did anybody really know this silent, non-communicative man?’ asked Raphael Soyer in a 1981 interview, 14 years after Hopper’s death. His friends recollected a cynical and taciturn artist, self-doubting, introspective and distrustful of fame. But before Hopper became the painter of lonely figures in all-night diners, he was the illustrator of raucous party scenes and smiling couples waltzing together at summer fêtes.
Edward Hopper and the American Hotel, a rich exhibition now at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, highlights the contrast between Hopper’s early, lesser-known years as a commercial illustrator and his later eminence as laconic American icon, the serious solitary who painted crumbling Victorian boarding houses, faded hotel lobbies and highway motels.