URBAN PICTURES

Although Hopper regularly visited New England, Greenwich Village (where he lived in the same apartment from 1913 until his death in 1967) was home, and New York set the stage for many of his most iconic paintings. Just as he in New England shunned dominant artistic motifs, Hopper disregarded many Jazz Age subjects—soaring skyscrapers, bustling streets, and industrial machinery—favored by American modernists. Indeed, Hopper's New York is at once instantly recognizable and strangely unfamiliar: streets are devoid of pedestrians, stores are without customers, and even automats—modern restaurants in which coin-operated, food-dispensing machines replaced waiters—lack signs of anything automatic. And though New York architecture rose to great new heights, Hopper favored instead a horizontal compositional format more closely linked to landscape traditions. He also avoided signs of the grit, noise, and commotion of urban life, imbuing his portrayals of the city with an overwhelming silence and disquieting stillness.