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Office at Night, 1940 by Edward Hopper (1931-1967, United States) | Painting Copy | ArtsDot.com

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Office at Night

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The painting depicts an office, occupied by an attractive young woman in a short-sleeved blue dress, who is standing at an open file cabinet, and a slightly older man who is perhaps in early middle age. He is dressed in a three-piece suit and is seated behind a desk. The nature of the office is unclear—it could just as easily be the office of a lawyer, an accountant, or of a small business. The high angle from which the viewer looks down on the office implies that the viewer may be looking in from a passing elevated train—indeed, Hopper later informed Norman A. Geske, the curator of the Walker Art Center, which acquired the painting in 1948, that the idea for the painting was “probably first suggested by many rides on the 'L' train in New York City after dark glimpses of office interiors that were so fleeting as to leave fresh and vivid impressions on my mind.“ So this is not a prestige office—a fact that is reinforced by the awkward lozenge shape of the room, and by the small size of the man’s desk. A yet smaller desk, holding a typewriter, may belong to the woman. This implies that she may be his secretary. Still, this is a corner office, which indicates that within their small organization, this is the most prestigious available space and therefore that the man is, perhaps, the manager or boss.
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Edward Hopper

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