The “enigmatic emptiness” of a city sidewalk

“Edward Hopper’s haunting realist canvas evokes an enigmatic emptiness that has become the artist’s trademark,” states the caption accompanying this 1924 painting on the website of the Chrysler Museum in Norfolk, Virginia.

“His sparsely populated New York cityscapes, bleak New England views, and lonely interiors share the same stark simplicity.”

“In New York Pavements Hopper used bold cropping, an elevated point of view, strong diagonal lines, and a simple, bleached palette to achieve an odd and detached effect.”

“From a bird’s-eye perspective, the only hint of narrative is the figure emerging from the lower left.”

It’s such an ordinary city scene yet so disquieting. Who is the nun with the baby carriage, and what neighborhood is this?

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8 Responses to “The “enigmatic emptiness” of a city sidewalk”

  1. ~~WORD OF THE DAY~~ « youthvoicestt Says:

    […] The “enigmatic emptiness” of a city sidewalk ( […]

  2. Steve Kaufman Says:

    Looks like 74th Street between Park and Madison–maybe No. 47.

  3. S.S. Says:

    The “nun” could be a Sister of Charity wheeling one of their wards from the NY Foundling Hospital, but more likely that is how nannies dressed in that period.

  4. rocco dormarunno(akafivepointsguy) Says:

    If all the nannies today had to wear head gear like that, Tribeca would look like an oversized convent.

  5. chas Says:

    The painting is obviously still having its intended affect…causing dialogue and various opinions as to what one is looking at….brilliant

  6. Michael Says:

    It is too. Hopper’s paintings are excellent.

  7. The haunting emptiness of “The Circle Theater” | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] It reminds me of another Hopper painting, depicting another isolating piece of New York City. […]

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