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Edward Hopper painted his now iconic Early Sunday Morning oil of canvas artwork back in 1930. This painting represents a New York street during the late 1920's and early 30's.
However, the artist chose to paint the city street not from a naturalistic point of view, but rather from a minimalist and subjective vantage point, with the street showing only what he deemed to be of importance.
This is clearly evident in the shop sign lettering as the letters appear only as shapes, we cannot read the words. It is also unclear as to what the shops sell.
Other than the obvious barber's pole, we can only guess as to the identity of the shops that are painted.
This apparent lack of reality that is shown in the depiction of the buildings that are roughly painted, is also depicted in the characters behind the shop front windows, as they are merely hinted at with the brush strokes, rather than being fully developed.
It is widely believed that Early Sunday Morning is set along New York's Seventh Avenue, although this has never been proven. The theatrical shading of the painting and its bold use of vertical and horizontal brush strokes all help to add to the ambience of the early morning scene.
When observing the painting the viewer really captures the feeling of what it must have felt like to walk along a lonely and deserted New York street in the early hours of the morning.
Although Hopper was vey much perceived to be a realist painter, this work of art shows that he had the capacity to simplify his art form in such a beautiful way that also depicted reality.
Early Sunday Morning can be perceived as a quiet New York city street during the Depression. In an interview, Hopper revealed that the painting is not actually about a Sunday at all, but that the term, 'Sunday', was added by someone else.
Therefore the street could be showing closed shops due to the restrictions of the Great Depression. In essence, the painting could have been drawn for any day of the week.