Rooms by the sea

Edward Hopper • Painting, 1951, 73.7×102 cm
About the artwork
This artwork was added since it is referred to in the materials below
Art form: Painting
Subject and objects: Landscape, Interior
Style of art: Realism
Technique: Oil
Materials: Canvas
Date of creation: 1951
Size: 73.7×102 cm
Artwork in selections: 88 selections

Description of the artwork «Rooms by the sea»

Hopper was very fond of the sea. As a child, when Edward was just starting to paint, seascapes were the main motive of his work. Many years later, the artist spent a lot of time on Cape Cod together with his wife Jo and returned to the images of the coast again, giving particular preference to lighthouses. In this respect, the Rooms by the Sea painting can be called unique. Paradoxically, although the sea is present here, the main role on this canvas is assigned to sunlight.

Most of Hopper’s paintings are distinguished by one amazing feature that you don’t notice right away. At first, it’s just a feeling of some slight dissonance. And then it becomes clear that most of the artist’s works are painted from an unusual angle or point of view. Most often artist does not cover the entire scene as a whole, but is limited to a sometimes completely unexpected part of it, creating the feeling of an accidentally caught moment  ("New York cinema", 1939). This is how shots from a film or photograph might look like, looking at which we think: this one was taken from around the corner ("Night owls", 1942), this one from the window of the opposite house ("Office in a small town", 1953) this one from under the embankment next to the railway track ("House by the railroad", 1925), and this one from the window of a subway car passing over the surface ("Room in new York", 1932).

Considering this peculiarity, the Rooms by the Sea painting becomes doubly, even threefold, exceptional. Firstly, Hopper finally allowed himself to portray an empty space flooded with light, saving himself from the need to fit people into this space. Secondly, the picture was painted, like many others, from an unusual angle, but at the same time there is not a single object in it that would fall into the frame as a whole. And the sea, starting right behind the doorway, creates a feeling of almost fabulous and illusory. It is not surprising that Hopper’s later works are classified in the genre of the so-called “magical realism”.

Author: Yevheniia Sidelnikova