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Early Sunday Morning, a painting that can be seen either as a quiet, peaceful scene of small, closed shops or as a commentary on the Depression. Edward Hopper pointed out in conversation that the word Sunday was not part of the original title. "I like Early Sunday Morning, too - but it wasn't necessarily Sunday. That word was added by someone else."
Although Hopper later stated that Early Sunday Morning "was almost a literal translation of Seventh Avenue", his painting appears less as a specific image of New York than as an image of America. See more
The barber's pole on the pavement and the white curtains of the second-floor flat evoke the lifestyle of small businessmen across the United States. Hoper originally painted a person in the second-floor window, but later decided that the architecture reflected his feelings and so removed this individual. Although one cannot tell from the signs on the shop fronts what types of businesses are represented, with the exception of the barber shop, the size of the buildings suggests that they provided cheap goods and services.
In the upper right-hand corner of the painting, the dark brown paintwork suggests the side of a large building and indicates the possible encroachment of the business world on this sunny block. Other shadows, also cast from the right, subtly suggest that the small businessman, a symbol of the individual and the early nineteenth-century American ideal for progressives, is in conflict with larger, less clearly defined forces. In this way, the painting perpetuates the progressive ideal and obliquely refers to the shadowy realm of the larger structures of the right.
Edward Hopper is one of the major figures of the American realist movement, with paintings such as House by the Railroad (1925) and Nighthawks (1942).
Born in 1882 in New York State, Edward Hopper entered the prestigious New York School of Art after his secondary education. He moved to New York in 1908 where he was hired as an illustrator for advertising campaigns. He soon tired of the job and exhibited paintings in his spare time. See more
Around 1915, he painted scenes of American life and in 1920, he presented his first exhibition at the Whitney Studio Club, which was a great success. In 1924 he married Josephine Verstille Nivison.
His particular style, made of simple forms and rather dark colours, plays on the contrasts between light and shadow. Hopper managed to diversify his realistic approach, with staged landscapes, sometimes urban and sometimes rural. The characters he paints often inspire an impression of solitude and exclusion. Most of his oil paintings reflect a country in the throes of economic and social change. In 1945, Edward Hopper was admitted to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He received numerous awards and honours, including the title of Doctor of Fine Arts from the Art Institute of Chicago in 1955.