Seeing Edward Hopper With New Eyes on His Birthday

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When I first encountered Edward Hopper’s 1940 painting “Room in New York” a number of years ago, it fascinated me for the way it seemed to seize upon one of the thousands of apartment windows from the mosaic of any given building in the city, bringing it intimately to life in all of its enigmatic detail.

Why this window?

You pull back the figurative camera, and the moment disappears, lost to the miasma of the whole.

The COVID-19 pandemic is causing us to reexamine many things in our lives—the work we do, the work we want to do, the places we’ve been, the places we want to go—while simultaneously offering new perspective as we go about our business in the course of our daily lives.

A couple of weeks ago, I happened upon “Room in New York” while searching for an unrelated image for an article—and it was as if seeing it for the first time, the painting becoming intimately familiar and wholly foreign.

No longer did it seem so enigmatic.

Today, on what would have been Hopper’s birthday, we’re taking a look at a medley of the artist’s works.

Like when rereading a book, a piece of art evolves over time not just as we do, but as the world around us does, as well.

Hotel By a Railroad, 1952
Girl at Sewing Machine, 1921
High Noon, 1949
Nighthawks, 1942
Office at Night, 1940
Hotel Window, 1955
House By the Railroad, 1925
Automat, 1927
Cape Cod Evening, 1939
Night Shadows, 1922