From the Heart
“He had a great sense of humor and style and was interested in learning and hearing about what was happening around him. He always stayed remarkably current,” says Marin Hopper of her legendary dad. “He had a traditional aesthetic, but at the same time wanted to break out of that mold.” Hopper also loved creating a warm, inviting atmosphere and filled his home with a mix of young and old, from painters and musicians to politicians. Despite the grand nature of some of his artwork and furniture, he collected what he loved. He didn’t follow trends and didn’t seek financial return. From left: Directing The Last Movie in Peru; in Taos, NM, where he had a home.
Hopper was a lifelong believer in an eclectic, authentic mix of old and new. For his Venice, CA, compound he commissioned an industrial-looking corrugated-metal structure by architect Brian Murphy and townhouse condominiums by Frank Gehry, but he left the original 1920s cottage intact. A visit to the house was a cultural adventure: Upon arrival, after passing through a deliberately suburban white picket fence, guests were greeted by Hopper’s striking collection of dramatic masks, purchased on a trip to South Africa in the early 2000s. “It was the first thing people saw,” says Marin. “He felt that they were extraordinarily beautiful.”
An Eye for Inspiration
Art was one of Hopper’s greatest passions. An artist himself, he not only lived amid works by Warhol, Lichtenstein, Schnabel, and Basquiat (to name just a few), but counted the artists as close friends as well. As part of the Guggenheim Motorcycle Club, he rode hundreds of miles to museum exhibitions nationwide. He even portrayed noted Swiss art dealer Bruno Bischofberger in Julian Schnabel’s 1996 film, Basquiat. Left: Filled with large paintings and an abundance of natural light, this second-story gallery space had a glass floor above the garage (an extension of the house)—the perfect vantage point for watching Dennis pull in by car or bike.
Lust for Life
In life as in art, architecture, and home decor, Dennis Hopper was a passionate, ever-curious explorer who was inspired by other cultures and incorporated the discoveries that moved him into his own world—everything from modern art to African artifacts, Mexican and desert-Southwest pieces, even the traditional Americana that his mother and grandmother used to send him. “He was always very open-minded to other environments,” says Marin. “He loved to celebrate things from foreign and past cultures and bring them to light in a modern setting.”Left: The actor taking in the local customs during a 1994 trip to Japan.