Pennsylvania Coal Town (1947) by Edward Hopper

Pennsylvania Coal Town - Edward Hopper - 1947

Artwork Information

TitlePennsylvania Coal Town
ArtistEdward Hopper
Date1947
Mediumoil,canvas
Art MovementSocial Realism
Current LocationButler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, OH, US
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About Pennsylvania Coal Town

The painting “Pennsylvania Coal Town” was created by Edward Hopper in 1947. It is an oil on canvas artwork, embodying the Social Realism movement, and it can be described as a cityscape that contains figurative elements. The genre combines physical city elements with a human presence, often to make a social or political statement. The painting is part of the collection at the Butler Institute of American Art located in Youngstown, Ohio, United States.

In the painting, there is a strong sense of stillness and isolation typical of Hopper’s work. The scene depicts a man in a sleeveless shirt and slacks, sweeping the sidewalk outside of a yellow house with a prominent green trim around the windows. Significant attention has been paid to the play of light and shadow, with the sun casting a strong light on the side of the house and the figure, creating sharp contrasts. There are no other figures present, and the man seems absorbed in his solitary task. The colors are primarily muted, aside from the vivid yellow of the house and hints of green, suggesting a bright yet quiet midday. The inclusion of a single human figure against the backdrop of the architecture lends a sense of narrative, and evokes a feeling of everyday life and the personal histories within a broader social framework.

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