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.
[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.