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Edward Hopper, Ground Swell, 1939, oil on canvas, National Gallery of Art, Washington, Corcoran Collection (Museum Purchase, William A. Clark Fund)

Ground Swell, Hopper (ASL)

Hopper painted this work in South Truro, Massachusetts, where he and his wife had built a home and studio in 1934. Despite its bright palette and seemingly serene subject, Ground Swell echoes the themes of loneliness and escape typical of Hopper’s oeuvre. The blue sky, sun-kissed figures, and vast rolling water strike a calm note; however, the visible disengagement of the figures from each other and their noticeable preoccupation with the bell buoy at the center of the canvas belie the initial sense of serenity.