An Illustration for “American Locomotive” by E. Hopper, 1944

– The power of simple bright colours and a brisk contrast of light and shadows is quite evident in most of Edward Hopper’s mature work –from the mid 1920s onwards– and even before, in the early 1910s, in his first outdoor paintings in America. Oils like New York Restaurant (1922) or Chop Suey (1927) are perfect examples of this fact.

In his extended –though intermittent– work as advertising illustrator, he turned the restrictions and requirements of the media and the printing limitations of his time into virtue, attaining some striking effects. Perhaps there is no clearer instance than his image for The American Locomotive Company (ALCO), published in 1944.

Besides the masterly composition, the pride and positivity (and hope!) embodied by the ‘dad and son’ couple, and of course the powerful beauty of the locomotive itself, the colours are the undisputed protagonists; red, cyan, green, purple, bright white jump to our eyes and captivate our brains.

To me, this picture expresses like few others the best spirit of the US in those times, near the end of WWII (a spirit that my elders admired with reason, but seems vanished or gone strayed nowadays – A pity.)

Am Locomotive, 1944
Ed Hopper – Illustration for “American Locomotive Co.”, 1944

Here I add the splendid full-page advertisement with the caption and emblem of the ALCO, as it appeared on magazines:

“American Locomotive” advertisement (1944), illustrated by Edward Hopper

[This is a ninth post in a series about Edward Hopper on this blog (among others on American Visual Arts); you may find the previous ones using the search window on “Home”] 

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5 thoughts on “An Illustration for “American Locomotive” by E. Hopper, 1944

    1. Oh!!! This is very kind of you, Roger 🙂 But not really deserved: I’m very aware that my English is not good enough to express my views as I would. Anyway I do love Hopper’s work as well as you since I was a child (my daddy’s influence, like in so many other things :))


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