American Paintings and Sculpture
Photo credit: Yale University Art Gallery
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Artist: Edward Hopper, American, 1882–1967

Western Motel

1957

Oil on canvas

77.8 x 128.3 cm (30 5/8 x 50 1/2 in.), framed: 94.6 x 145.4 x 7.6 cm (37 1/4 x 57 1/4 x 3 in.)
Bequest of Stephen Carlton Clark, B.A. 1903
1961.18.32
Edward Hopper found inspiration in the commonplace of American life. In Western Motel, an anonymous motel bedroom becomes a symbol of the mobility and rootlessness of modern life. The spare furnishings, stark interior, and sharp bands of light produce a composition of masterful simplicity, yet one that is layered with psychological ambiguity. The woman staring across the room does not seem to see us; the pensiveness of her stare and her tense posture accentuate the sense of some impending event. She appears to be waiting: the luggage is packed, the room is devoid of personal objects, the bed is made, and a car is parked outside the window.
Culture: 
American
Period: 
20th century
Classification: 
Paintings
Status: 
On view
Bibliography: 

Artists on Art: Observations by Yale Faculty on Selections from the Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1999), 47–49, ill.

Michael Conforti et al., The Clark Brothers Collect: Impressionist and Early Modern Paintings, exh. cat. (Williamstown, Mass.: Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, 2006), 140, 186, 289, 316, 332, fig. 117.

Carol Troyen et al., Edward Hopper, exh. cat. (Verona, Italy: MFA Publications, 2007), 222, no. 109, ill.

Wendy Drexler, Western Motel (Cincinnati: Turning Point, 2012), Cover page, ill.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.

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