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Edward Hopper

Early Sunday Morning


Edward Hopper, Early Sunday Morning, 1930  31.426
Edward Hopper, Early Sunday Morning, 1930. Oil on canvas, 35 3/16 × 60 1/4 in. (89.4 × 153 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase with funds from Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney  31.426 For Teachers
© Heirs of Josephine N. Hopper, licensed by the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

about this work

Early Sunday Morning is one of Edward Hopper’s most iconic paintings. Although he described this work as “almost a literal translation of Seventh Avenue,” Hopper reduced the New York City street to bare essentials. The lettering in the window signs is illegible, architectural ornament is loosely sketched, and human presence is merely suggested by the various curtains differentiating discrete apartments. The long, early morning shadows in the painting would never appear on a north-south street such as Seventh Avenue. Yet these very contrasts of light and shadow, and the succession of verticals and horizontals, create the charged, almost theatrical, atmosphere of empty buildings on an unpopulated street at the beginning of the day. Although Hopper is known as a quintessential twentieth-century American realist, and his paintings are fundamentally representational, this work demonstrates his emphasis on simplified forms, painterly surfaces, and studiously constructed compositions.

Maxwell L. Anderson. American Visionaries: Selections from the Whitney Museum of American Art. (New York: Whitney Museum of American Art, 2001), 143.


Audio guide stop for Edward Hopper, Early Sunday Morning, 1930

Audio guide stop for Edward Hopper, Early Sunday Morning, 1930 — Level 2

look closer

Think about your neighborhood. How is the place pictured here similar to or different from where you live? 

Where do you see shadows in this painting? 

What might be causing these shadows? 

What time of day do you think it is? How can you tell? 

What patterns do you notice in this painting? 

If you could add two things to this painting, what would they be? Why?


Edward Hopper, Early Sunday Morning, 1930  31.426 For Teachers

For Early Sunday Morning Edward Hopper painted a quiet New York street before anyone was up. Originally titled Seventh Avenue Shops, the inspiration for this image was an actual row of buildings on Seventh Avenue in New York’s Greenwich Village; Hopper combined his sketches of this street and others to create Early Sunday Morning.

Ask your students to think about the street that they live on. What does it look like in the morning, in the afternoon, and at night? Have them choose a time of day. What colors, patterns, and shapes would they see on their street at that time? Who would they see? What would be moving? What would be still? After discussing this as a class, ask your students to draw a picture of their street for homework, paying particular attention to the time of day.

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