Edward Hopper (XVI) – Pulling us inside the painting

Compartment C, Car 293 (1938)

A train compartment, a lone woman, reading by a window, the sight of a bridge, a mixture of artificial light with that of a dusk, a lamp shut down; a complex geometric pattern of light and shadows… Pure Hopper, indeed; and a broad compendium of his favourite themes reunited in a single painting, effectively presented to suggest the viewer what he likes most to suggest: quietness, silence, introspection, solitude… along with the gradual, unexplainable feeling that something is about to happen soon.

The cold palette, restricted to blue, green and white, with the wisely disposed lesser touches of yellow and reddish browns, strongly drive our sight to the vacant seat beside the woman (even if she is obviously what we look at first); then our interest goes to what we do not see: the women’s feet and shoes –and possibly, our own feet, since, given the point of view, we seem to be standing just in front of her.

So, what I feel watching the image is that I am entering the compartment (perhaps returning to it); I look at the woman, then at the dubiously available seat, occupied in part by a book or magazine, then at the crepuscular sky through the window, and eventually back at the floor to estimate if these feet (virtually visible to me, with shoes that can only be white or, less probably, navy blue) are in my way to sit down in front of her, at the left… just where the signature of the painter is. So we are in the place of Hopper himself. And so, the woman is a much rejuvenated Josephine Nivison –his wife–, whom in fact posed for the painting as many other times during Hopper’s working life.

Of course, despite the model’s real presence, Hopper could be thinking of a young, smart girl like the one depicted, and fantasizing with (or even remembering) a first encounter with her in a train; in a car that, I am quite sure, really was number 293.

In that case, I wonder what would an extremely introverted man like Hopper say to the girl just at that moment… Anyway, I almost see the girl nodding and moving her legs back and a little aside. At this point, aside of seeing clearly her shoes, I am already feeling the slight rolling of the vagon and the constant noise of its wheels on the tracks.

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[IBM Corporate Collection]


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11 thoughts on “Edward Hopper (XVI) – Pulling us inside the painting

    1. Yes 🙂 There is a story in every painting by Hopper. BTW, thanks a lot for stopping by again, John ! I’m pleased to met you and I do hope everything goes fine in your life and home !!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Everything is what you might call eventful. Soooo much going on at work, it seems like my days are endless journeys behind my desk. I am grateful for the career, I just wish it didn’t come with so much written follow ups!!!! LOL…..job security, though. I will go with it!!!! I hope everything is well with you and yours, or improving at least, and more bearable……Catalonia is still on my mind…….

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Job security is important, yes ! I’m glad you have it, despite all inconveniences.
          About me, I have a part-time job as accountant in a car workshop, with a very low salary, but at least I can pay the rent of my home. As for the rest, I wish I could say I’m fine, but, frankly I’m not. Thanks a lot for your interest, anyway 🙂
          Catalonia continues to be a mess and a big disappointment… Our leaders betrayed the people out of pure cowardice and dark personal conveniences. Many are still in jail undeservedly and most arbitrarily, but to me, they might stay there (even if for the contrary motives 🙂 There is some hope from those who went to exile in Belgium and Switzerland, and keep on fighting for our national rights… Anyway, my hopes are low and my frustration high about this matter.
          ((Hugs! Thanks for stopping by, and my best wishes as always. Good luck! 💐 🍀))

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Thank you sis. I can certainly relate to having a national leader who places himself before the people he is sworn to serve. There is a level of chaos here as well within the realm of our own government. So many of whom should be in jail themselves, and some who are definitely headed that way.
            I am glad to hear you are employed, anything you can do to keep your mind of what has been going on. I would hate to think so many citizens of Catalonia would just give up and migrate to other, safer and freer countries. That is there home, and I’m sure they want to see it free and safe from all tyranny. I know Ari wanted that more than anything, independence. As wonderful and rewarding as independence can be, the pains taken to arrive at it can often times be beyond brutal.
            Loved the pics of Ari you posted. She was certainly at peace with herself despite the various stressors that violated that peace so many times in her life. Best wishes to you as well, sis. Take care, and keep fighting the good fight….stay strong!!!!!

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  1. I like that you don’t see any print or images on the magazines – it’s up to you to determine what it is she is reading so intently. Just as it is up to you to decide where to sit… Stunning.

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    1. Thank you, Elisabeth 🙂 Your kindness and compliments are fondly appreciated here !
      (( I would just sorry if some of my naughtier posts displease you to a certain point -I am quite in a conflict about this, since my interests are several and very dissimilar, and I always forget to warn at the beginning as I should. Political correctness is not my best asset 🙂 ))
      Suukkoja! 💋 💋

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      1. You’re very welcome, Li 😊 As to your naughty posts; I’m a great believer in personal freedom and expression and I certainly won’t judge you for expressing a side of you that needs to be expressed, even if for me personally it is not my thing, so a small warning or separate blog would work 😉😘

        Liked by 1 person

        1. You are very right, Elisabeth. As for the separate blog I already have it 🙂 but some posts I felt like publishing on this one truly lack the warning, just because I forgot to add it. I will do it soon !! Thanks for giving me your opinion 💐

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