Automat (1927) by Edward Hopper

Automat - Edward Hopper - 1927

Artwork Information

TitleAutomat
ArtistEdward Hopper
Date1927
Mediumoil,canvas
Dimensions91.4 x 71.4 cm
Art MovementNew Realism
Current LocationDes Moines Art Center, Des Moines, IA, US
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About Automat

The artwork “Automat” by Edward Hopper was created in 1927 and is an exemplar of the New Realism art movement. This genre painting was executed in oil on the canvas, with dimensions measuring 91.4 by 71.4 cm. It is part of the artist’s ‘Window’ paintings series and currently resides in the Des Moines Art Center in Des Moines, IA, US.

The artwork portrays an evocative scene of solitude and introspection. A lone woman sits at a table, her gaze directed downward as she contemplates over a cup of coffee. The setting is a sparsely furnished diner or café, defined by the presence of an automat—a type of coin-operated food vending establishment that was typical of the era. The interior space is illuminated by artificial light that casts a combination of softness and starkness, emphasizing the quietness of the tableau.

The color palette is restrained but deliberate, with the cool blues of the tabletop and woman’s dress contrasting against the warm glow of the overhead lights and the orange hue of her hat. The vertical lines of the window frame and the door emphasize the separation between the interior and the dark, possibly unwelcoming exterior, while the expansive plane of the window glass reflects the stark solitude of the woman’s position.

Hopper’s treatment of light and shadow, coupled with his precise rendering of form, conveys a profound sense of melancholy and alienation. Through this work, he communicates an underlying narrative about modern life and urban isolation, themes he revisited throughout his oeuvre. “Automat” remains a powerful testament to the artist’s skill in capturing the nuanced psychological states of individuals within the American social landscape of the twentieth century.

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