Edward Hopper (1882-1967), Summer Interior, 1909, oil on canvas, 61 x 73.7 cm, The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City.
A philosopher (I can’t remember who) once said we always want our internal and external predicaments to match which is why we talk about the weather so much. The elements have a strange power over our interior lives. One’s inner weather should always bear a relation to the outer. As such, there is nothing more distressing, when one is feeling dejected, than a sunny day. I’ve always loved Hopper’s series of paintings (which I’ll clumsily group together as ‘woman in rooms’) of solitary women. One is in a hotel room, another in a late night bar, yet another, stands naked staring out an open window and, in this instance, a faceless, semi-clad woman kneels on a bedroom floor in a state of despair. Or is it regret? Grief? Is she weeping? We don’t really know but what is striking is her essential aloneness; the shafts of happy, dappling sunlight somehow mocking her cowed head and collapsed frame. The oft longed for sunny day. Sometimes there really isn’t anything quite as sad. LT
This painting, along with other Edward Hopper works can be found in our book, Twentieth Century Painting. It may be currently out of print, but you can get it second-hand on Amazon. Treat yourself, it’s Friday.