6.03.2010

Dennis Hopper: Artist & Collector

When the world lost the inimitable Dennis Hopper last week, we lost more than just a brilliant actor. Lesser known for his second passion, Hopper was a serious photographer, painter, and art collector (he purchased Andy Warhol's first Soup Can Painting for $75).
After a conflict with a well-known director in the late 1950's, Hopper had trouble finding film work in Hollywood for many years, and was reduced to 1 or 2 - episode appearances in many tv shows for almost 10 years. During this time, he studied film direction and became an avid photographer. His subject matter included political figures and the civil rights movement, as well as shooting for Vogue and Harper's Bazaar, and taking artists' and actors' portraits. (Self-portrait above, Roy Lichtenstein below).
Jane Fonda

Bill Cosby
Paul Newman
At $1,000 Taschen's Dennis Hopper: Photographs 1961-1967 is a bit out of reach for most of us (although it is a limited edition of 1500, each copy signed by Hopper himself). Hopefully a more affordable edition will be released at some point.
Per Art Forum, Hopper’s art will be the subject of an exhibition planned to open in July at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. I envy those of you who live close enough to see this exhibit!


Andy Warhol - painted from Hopper's photograph.



It was actor Vincent Price who introduced Hopper to modern art when Hopper was only in his late teens. His collection over the years has included works by Warhol, Lichtenstein, Jasper Johns, Julian Schnabel, Basquiat, Robert Rauschenberg, and Frank Stella. Several of these artists were also close personal friends. Hopper was the first owner of one of my personal favorite paintings, Ruscha's "Standard Station". Married 5 times, Hopper lost a large number of his paintings in his first divorce, and later sold others to finance a subsequent divorce.
Hopper's home in the Venice Beach area began life as an artist's studio designed by Frank Gehry, and has been featured in numerous architectural magazines. An austere exterior has earned it the description of a "floodlit fortress", although the interior of the home is sunny and bright. This fantastic video, filmed in 2007, gives us a glimpse at Hopper's extensive collection and the inside of his beautiful home.



Sources: Ace Gallery, The Guardian, CBS Sunday Morning, The Telegraph, Cigar Aficianado

17 comments:

Dumbwit Tellher said...

Such a great..great post Marsi. Dennis' life was fascinating. I had to chuckle when he mentioned that his 'Lichtenstein' sold for many millions but unfortunately went to one of his ex's in a divorce settlement. So interesting that of all people Vincent Price turned him on to art!

You captured great photos and told his story really well. I miss blogging but hope to be back in the saddle here soon. In the mean time take much care. xx

stylebyrachael said...

Wow, just amazing! I had no idea how talented he truly was.

Midcenturymadam said...

Thanks for the informative and interesting post on Dennis Hopper. I had know idea he was such a talented guy, beyond what we saw on the silver screen.

Len♥reNeverM♥re said...

Great taste in art!
RIP*
ps:The $1000 book is a little too much...wonder if they offer layaway plan?

Janne said...

Great post! I always liked this guy as an actor and I knew he was into art, but there was a lot of new stuff here for me. I'm a Jane Fonda fan and just love that archery pic - not seen it before.

Beth said...

Fantastic post, Marsi!! I learned so much. So touching to hear him say how he was keeping the art for others -- how it would live on beyond him. What an ultra-creative and talented man Dennis Hopper was.

I am going to spread the word about your blog posting on Twitter. ☺

drollgirl said...

what a super post! he was a one-of-a-kind, for sure, and i'll be catching that exhibition at moca!

Stephanie said...

Very cool! Never knew much about Dennis Hopper but now I feel like I know him a little bit, I will most def do some googling:) Thanks for the inspiration! Awesome post girl!

Sam said...

I watched "Giant" the other night - he was super young in that but he really filled up the screen - a very creative soul was Dennis Hopper - he will be missed and thought about for a long time to come I think.

Daisy said...

Amazing pieces of art. such talent and inspiraition. thanks for sharing.

forrestina vintage said...

Super post, thank you!

Melissa Blake said...

What a wonderful tribute!!

Pretty Little World said...

On NPR the other day, they replayed an earlier interview with him, and until I heard that, I had no idea about Dennis Hopper as this kind of artist. It was really interesting to hear him speak about art history and painting.

This is a wonderful post!

Don said...

Thanks for this wonderful post about Dennis Hopper. He was a true artist.

NedaD承蓁 said...

A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour. ....................................................

The Cottage Cheese said...

NedaD, your porn's not welcome here. If I could delete your comment, I would.

Amy said...

Obviously, I'm pretty behind on my blog reading, since I'm comment on this a month after...

This post was great. Dennis Hopper became kind of a circus in the last months of his life. I'm glad you wrote this to remind us of something that was really interesting about him. I had no idea how much of a collector he really was. Amazing!

P.S. I recently purchased something from your Etsy shop and just put two and two together. I've been reading your blog for a long time.