‘Edward Hopper, Untitled’ – from The New Yorker, September 12, 2011

Solitude and big city loneliness are portrayed in this work – ‘Solitary Figure in a Theatre’ (1902) – by American painter Edward Hopper.  It’s in the collection of the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.  Linda Pastan’s poem ‘Edward Hopper, Untitled’ appeared in the September 12 issue of The New Yorker.

“An empty theatre: seats
shrouded in white
like rows of headstones;
the curtain about to rise
(or has it fallen?)
on a scene
of transcendental
silence.

And the audience?
A solitary figure sheathed
in black, a woman
in a hat perhaps
(more abstract
shape than woman)
sitting alone
in the cavernous dark.

This is quintessential Hopper—
cliche of loneliness
transformed by brushstroke
into something part paint,
part desperation.
‘Oil on board,’ the label says,
as if even a tree
had to be sacrificed.”

—Linda Pastan, The New Yorker, 09/12/2011

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