The House by the Railroad is a 1925 oil on canvas painting by Edward Hopper that depicts a grand Victorian home located near railroad tracks. The painting’s title may seem simple, but it carries deeper meaning about the alienation in modern life. As an American realist painter and printmaker, Hopper portrayed unsentimental scenes of physical or psychological isolation.
The painting was significant because it was the first artwork to enter the Museum of Modern Art’s collection in 1930. It marked the beginning of Hopper’s rise to fame as an artist in New York City. The House by the Railroad captures a clash between rapid modernization and traditional rural ways of life that became a key theme in American art during the first half of the 20th century.
Overall, this painting reflects Hopper’s vision of portraying modern society through depictions such as desolate homes and empty office rooms rather than spectacular landscapes or human interactions. In House by the Railroad, his inspiration for this piece is not clear, but it is widely accepted that its atmosphere bears some similarities with Edgar Allan Poe stories he admired as well as symbolism from his childhood experiences traveling around America via railroads.