Le Bistrot or The Wine Shop (1909) by Edward Hopper

Le Bistrot or The Wine Shop - Edward Hopper - 1909

Artwork Information

TitleLe Bistrot or The Wine Shop
ArtistEdward Hopper
Date1909
Mediumoil,canvas
Dimensions72.39 x 59.31 cm
Art MovementNew Realism
Current LocationWhitney Museum of American Art, New York City, NY, US
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About Le Bistrot or The Wine Shop

The artwork titled “Le Bistrot or The Wine Shop” is an oil on canvas genre painting created by Edward Hopper in 1909. This piece exemplifies the New Realism movement and measures 72.39 by 59.31 cm. It is currently housed in the prestigious collection of the Whitney Museum of American Art, located in New York City, New York, United States.

In this artwork, Hopper depicts a scene set presumably in Europe, as indicated by the architecture and the distant bridge reminiscent of Parisian surroundings. Two figures are centered in the foreground, seated at a table outside a café or wine shop, engaged in what appears to be a private, intimate conversation. They are partially in shadow, with the starkness of sunlight illuminating the scene and casting strong contrasts. Beyond them, the viewer’s eye is drawn to the gently curving street and the bridge with its arches visible in the background, where water flows beneath. The tall, slender trees reach upward against a soft, hazy sky, contributing to the serene and contemplative atmosphere of the scene.

The light handling and the palette comprising of earthy and muted tones imbue the artwork with a sense of tranquility as well as a touch of melancholy. This early work of Hopper’s already hints at some of the thematic preoccupations he would develop further in his career: isolation, the silent narratives of everyday life, and the play of light and shadow. While the specific details of the figures’ identities and their interaction remain ambiguous, this open-ended narrative quality is a characteristic aspect of Hopper’s work, inviting viewers to ponder the storyline being silently played out.

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