Dennis Hopper (1936-2010) was an American actor, filmmaker and artist. Hopper had several artistic pursuits beyond film. He was a prolific photographer, painter, and sculptor. Hopper’s fascination with art began with painting lessons at the Nelson-Atkins Museum while still a child in Kansas City, Missouri. His painting style ranges from abstract impressionism to photorealism and often includes references to his cinematic work and to other artists.
Ostracized by the Hollywood film studios due to his reputation for being a “difficult” actor, Hopper eventually turned to photography in the 1960s with a Nikon camera bought for him by his first wife, Brooke Hayward. During this period he created the cover art for the Ike & Tina Turner single River Deep – Mountain High. He would become a prolific photographer, and noted writer Terry Southern profiled Hopper in Better Homes and Gardens magazine as an up-and-coming photographer “to watch” in the mid 1960s. Hopper’s early photography is known for portraits from the 1960s, and he began shooting portraits for Vogue and other magazines. His intimate and unguarded images of celebrities like Andy Warhol and Jane Fonda were the subject of gallery shows and were collected in a book, “1712 North Crescent Heights.” In 1960-67, before the making of Easy Rider, Hopper shot a selection of groundbreaking images that is seen as telling a remarkable history of art, artist, places and events of that time.
During his lifetime, Hopper’s own work as well as his collection was shown in monographic and group exhibitions around the world including the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota; the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; the State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg; MAK Vienna: Austrian Museum of Applied Arts/Contemporary Art, Vienna; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; and the Cinémathèque Française, Paris, and the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Melbourne.