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Image of New York Office

Edward Hopper
American, 1882–1967

New York Office


Object Type: Painting
Creation Place: North America, American, New York
40 1/2 in. x 55 1/8 in. (102.87 cm x 140.02 cm)
Medium and Support: Oil on canvas
Accession Number: 1989.0002.0024

Credit Line: Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Montgomery, Alabama, The Blount Collection

Currently On View
Copyright: © Heirs of Josephine N. Hopper/ Licensed by Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY

"New York Office" was painted when Hopper was eighty years old, and very near the end of his life. But the subject of the painting had occupied the artist since virtually the beginning of his career, combining three major themes he revisited regularly in his art: urban environment, the business office, and a solitary figure viewed through a window from the outside. It was Hopper's practice to travel the city on foot or by public transportation, and produce drawings based upon what he saw during these excursions. These drawings were the “raw material” from which he formulated finished paintings in his studio—choosing, editing, and revising the drawings to make the composition as he envisioned it. Here, the viewer is placed across the street and outside the office window, in a sense forcing him into the same position as the artist, a voyeur whose presence is unnoticed by the subject.

Pensive, solitary figures such as the woman in the office window were frequently depicted in Hopper’s later oil paintings, and they are usually incorporated with effects of light to reveal their physical presence. Since they are unaware of the viewer’s presence, they are powerless against visual intrusion on their privacy. Hopper implies that there is a story behind these women’s lives that remains intriguing, but elusive, and that, as appealing as the women appear, they exist in the realm of the imaginary and unattainable.

American Paintings from the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, 2006, cat. no. 63, p. 158.

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