CARTERFOSTER: So Road and Trees, a painting from 1962, is a late painting in Hopper’s career.
It’s typical of Hopper’s late work in that it shows a kind of emptied out space and is in fact a distillation of a theme, the road that interested him for decades. And it shows his experience of America by car. Hopper and his wife took many, many road trips throughout their lives, so they were familiar with the experience of driving and how it felt to be in a moving car and how it felt to look at a moving landscape from a car.
That’s really what this painting represents, is a moving landscape. You get almost a sense of vibration when you look at this painting. As emptied out and still as it seems to be, there’s also this strange sense of bodily movement that you get when you’re looking at it.
NARRATOR: One of Hopper’s studies for this painting is nearby.
CARTERFOSTER: The drawing for this painting is interesting because it has a car on the road. The space of the road is not as well defined as it is in the painting, but you get this sense of a moving automobile, which Hopper eliminated when he decided to paint it.