Where We Are

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Hear directly from artists and curators on selected works from Where We Are.

Painting by Edward Hopper. Painting of a woman in dress facing away from the viewer.

Mark Joshua Epstein: Now we're here at New York Interior by the artist Edward Hopper.

Student 1: I notice that it's a woman in a very beautiful, elegant dress, but it kind of looks depressing because of how dark it is.

Student 2: Also, her hand is up in the air, and I was wondering why, and she's holding her dress up, so it almost looks like she's fixing it or something.

Student 3: I see in the top right corner there's a clock, and it looks like both of the hands are pointing at the twelve, so that shows it might be late at night.

Student 4: She kind of seems lonely. Maybe she was in a relationship of some sort and they decided to separate.

Mark Joshua Epstein: A lot of historians think that Edward Hopper was inspired to paint this scene by his travels on the El Train, which was a train in New York that had an elevated track, so he could see through people's windows when he was on the train. 

Student 1: Well, now that you said that, I noticed that the sides are cut off so it looks like a window. 

Student 2: I'm kind of thinking since he only really got a glimpse of what was happening, you can't really totally describe the significance of the moment, and so she might actually be really happy, because from that point of view, you can’t really see her face.

Mark Joshua Epstein: One other question I had just to think about our own experience for a moment, if you walked into the museum, and you saw a painting like this of you through a window of your apartment, how would you feel?

Student 1: I would feel kind of invaded, like somebody took a picture of me. 

Student 2: I would also feel kind of like, why are you looking at me, and what's so interesting about me when I'm just sewing up my dress?

Student 3: Unpopular opinion. It would be cool to have a painting by a famous artist about you. I'd be kind of surprised, but I'd also be like, cool! 


Edward Hopper (1882-1967), New York Interior, c. 1921. Oil on canvas, Overall: 24 1/4 × 29 1/4 in. (61.6 × 74.3cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Josephine N. Hopper Bequest 70.1200. © Heirs of Josephine N. Hopper/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY