The woman in Edward Hopper’s “Summertime”

She’s young and attractive, wearing a summer straw hat and see-through dress that doesn’t blow quite as much as the curtains in the window to her left do.

Stepping out of her tenement entrance and standing at the sidewalk during the summer of 1943, she appears to be waiting—for what?

The writer behind Edwardhopper.net has this take on her, one of the many isolated souls Hopper depicted in New York in the first half of the 20th century. “The outfit, obviously new, refers to the increased prosperity of the nation, which at last had been able to put aside many of the difficulties of the Depression,” states the site.

“She is part of the large group of young American females who had to survive the war years as best they could, years marked by a dearth of eligible young men and an abundance of money accrued from the jobs the war effort engendered.” Perhaps she’s waiting for the war to end, and the life she wants to begin.

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9 Responses to “The woman in Edward Hopper’s “Summertime””

  1. Audrey Burtrum-Stanley Says:

    Hopper was married late in life to a woman who was also a painter. Her name was Josephine Nivison. Reviews of her work generally reveal she was not as gifted nor as prolific as her artist husband. She was, however THE MODEL IN ALL HIS ARTWORKS. (He merely altered the face or figure as needed…) They had no children. She died shortly after her husband’s death, leaving thousands of pieces in their art collection to several NYC museums.

  2. Richard Kenyon Says:

    No bars on the first floor windows, one window open for air, and no graffiti on the building facade, Ahhh, wasn’t NY more civilized during the war years!

  3. David Shiel Says:

    Wondering why she can’t have a new cell phone.

  4. Dymoon Says:

    another winner.. thanks for the readings..

  5. Bella Stander Says:

    That’s no tenement! I know because I lived in one.

  6. ephemeralnewyork Says:

    I know what you mean Bella; it looks too clean! But it does have the typical tenement steps, double doors, and tile at the entrance. I went back and forth and decided it looks like my tenement building enough to call it that!

    • Bob Says:

      The building in the painting has features IMO that resemble # 27 Washington Square North, just down the street from his studio at #3.

  7. Identifying an eerie drugstore in a 1927 painting | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] of any sign of humanity. It’s classic Hopper, of course, an artist whose work reflects the isolation and alienation of modern urban […]

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