Edward Hopper (1882–1967): Summer Evening, 1947, oil on9/8/2021, 10:18:45 AM
Edward Hopper (1882–1967): Summer Evening, 1947, oil on canvas, 30 x 42 inches; Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Gilbert H. Kinney . . Hopper’s highly stylized images are raked with light and teem with psychological tension. Evoking the opening scene of a detective novel or a theatrical stage before the curtain rises, Hopper’s paintings are filled with drama waiting to unfold. The artist, however, discussed his work in less narrative terms. In the making of 'Office at Night' , he was concerned primarily with depicting the variousgg sources of light in the painting. “Anything more than this,” he wrote, “the picture will have to tell, but I hope it will not tell any obvious anecdote, for none is intended.” And what distinction did Hopper draw between work and leisure? Comparing 'Office at Night' with 'Summer Evening', we have here, it would appear that he made little distinction at all. The relationship between the two people in the office, implicit but quite obvious to the viewer, corresponds to the explicit relationship of the couple on the lighted veranda. The gaps in the curtains and the open window establish a visual link with the woman's pose and attire, which, again, simultaneously conceal and reveal. And the illumination, finally, transforms what is actually an intimate scene into a public one. Factors familiar from other paintings play a role here as well - an interplay between concealing and revealing, the emergence of sexual tension. The curtains figure as a formal echo of the woman's attire. In Hopper's eyes, the results were apparently just as unsatisfying during leisure time as at work, and human relationships as desolate as most of the landscapes and townscapes he depicted. And the later the date of the picture is, the more depressing its mood seems to be.