Where in the city is this row of brick buildings?

When Washington Square North resident Edward Hopper finished this strangely haunting painting of simple low-rise buildings in 1930, it was recorded in his ledger as “Seventh Avenue Shops.”


But could this really be on Seventh Avenue? Not according to a 2007 report from the Greenwich Village Historical Society, which explains that the distinctive cornices, barber shop pole, fire hydrant, and morning shadows place the inspiration not on Seventh Avenue but at 231-235 Bleecker Street, just west of Carmine Street.

BleeckerstreetnymagazineAdding to the mystery is that Hopper later changed the name of the painting to “Early Sunday Morning,” which it’s still known by today.

[Photo comparison published in New York magazine, courtesy of the Whitney Museum of Art, John Carbonella]

Many of Hopper’s other works—deceptively simple, solitary, often people-free city corners and streets—have been traced to specific locations that still stand.

Maybe Hopper did draw his inspiration from this slice of Bleecker Street, or perhaps it’s a composite of details from several buildings.

Jeremiah at Vanishing New York has an intriguing take on the “Early Sunday Morning,” as well as a fascinating look at where Hopper’s “Nighthawks” might have been.

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3 Responses to “Where in the city is this row of brick buildings?”

  1. Artnoize Says:

    I think the stretch of buildings from 60-66 Greenwich Avenue [ending with Elephant & Castle restaurant] might also be the inspiration for Early Sunday Morning.
    However Hopper would have removed the second floor. The window spacing is more correct and width of stores seem accurate.
    I also believe Nighthawks was a modified landscape of 13th Street & Greenwich Ave [Just south of Jackson Square] where Bruxelles restaurant used to be.

  2. lisaakalisa Says:

    I’ve always thought it was Greenwich Ave, too– I believe I read it somewhere, years ago.

  3. RBG Says:

    Someone from the Whitney has identified that location as 7th Avenue between 15th and 16th Streets in Chelsea. I can’t add the photo here, but it you want to see it, they have a copy of it hanging in L&M Deli on 15th and 7th.

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