The Railroad (1922) by Edward Hopper

The Railroad - Edward Hopper - 1922

Artwork Information

TitleThe Railroad
ArtistEdward Hopper
Art MovementNew Realism
Current LocationWhitney Museum of American Art, New York City, NY, US

About The Railroad

“The Railroad,” an etching crafted by the esteemed artist Edward Hopper in 1922, represents an exemplar of the New Realism movement. This particular artwork falls within the landscape genre, depicting a scene that eloquently embodies the essence of early 20th-century American life. It is currently housed in the Whitney Museum of American Art, located in New York City, NY, US, where it contributes to the narrative of American art history.

The artwork reveals a desolate yet evocative scene emphasizing the intersection of human-built structures and the natural environment. A railroad track, delineated with delicate yet confident lines, leads the viewer’s eye into the composition, while the converging angulation of telegraph poles creates a rhythmic progression toward the horizon. The middle ground is occupied by a person, alone and somewhat enigmatic, standing beside the tracks, encapsulating the solitary character that is often associated with Hopper’s figures. In the background, a row of houses, rendered with a keen attention to architectural detail, anchors the scene within a residential context.

The etching is characterized by strong contrasts of light and shadow, which Hopper adeptly manipulates to achieve a sense of depth and solidity. The artwork’s overall atmosphere is one of contemplative stillness, highlighting the subtle yet potent narratives hidden in ordinary, even mundane settings. Through this piece, Hopper invites contemplation on themes of travel, modernity, and the human experience within the ever-changing American landscape.

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