Though Hopper's paintings (such as the Automat) are sometimes characterised by a deep sense of loneliness, the feeling of solitude in August in the City can be described instead as a calm sense of thoughtfulness. As a result, this painting represents a very interesting aspect of his ouevre.
August in the City is one of Hopper's comparatively later works (he lived from 1882 to 1967) and as such here we can see that he has consolidated his distinctive style.
The simple yet austere use of shade and texture, the feeling of a flattened out background and an unflinching gaze, as well as the use of vibrant and eye catching colours, are all hallmarks of Hopper's most famous works.
August in the City falls into the category of Social Realism. It presents the viewer with a cityscape that purports to show just what August in this particular city was like.
The unflinching gaze mentioned above, so typical of Hopper's paintings, is here used to give a sense of authenticity to the painting.
Though it is described as a realist work, however, August in the City also has a somewhat oneiric quality to it. This combination of gritty realism and dreamlike whimsy makes August in the City a particularly intriguing work.
As in many of Hopper's paintings, there is a sense here that something may be being hidden from our view.
The shadows of the stately house sweep out of the painting's frame and the stark solitude of the white house to the right of the painting makes the viewer's eye hunt for a human figure. Perhaps, Hopper may well be urging us to wonder, a human protagonist is standing just out of view?