Edward Hopper (1882-1967)
Oil on canvas
Overall: 29 5/16 × 48 1/8 in. (74.5 × 122.2 cm)
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Josephine N. Hopper Bequest
Rights and Reproductions Information
© Heirs of Josephine N. Hopper, licensed by the Whitney Museum of American Art
In Edward Hopper’s painting Railroad Sunset, a signal tower stands starkly against undulating green hills and the spectacular colors of sunset. Since his childhood, Hopper had been fascinated by trains, and after his marriage to Josephine Nivison Hopper, the couple embarked on their first transcontinental train trip, travelling to Colorado and New Mexico. The year that he painted this scene, Hopper and his wife travelled from New York to Charleston, South Carolina, as well as to Massachusetts and Maine. But rather than depicting the places they visited, Hopper here presents the lonely landscape in between, with the railroad tracks slicing through the countryside parallel to the picture plane—as if glimpsed from the window of a passing train. As was his frequent practice, Hopper painted the scene once he had returned to his New York studio, creating an image that is not an exact record of a specific place, but instead fuses his memories with imaginary details.