Edward Hopper (1882-1967)
Oil on canvas
Overall: 30 3/16 × 40 1/8 in. (76.7 × 101.9 cm)
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Purchase and exchange
Rights and Reproductions Information
© Heirs of Josephine N. Hopper, licensed by the Whitney Museum of American Art
In her diary entry for September 22, 1948, Josephine Hopper recorded the completion of her husband Edward’s most recent painting: “E. has done this canvas in 16 days. I find on looking back he stretched it on Labor Day Sept. 6. This [is] a very short time.” The painting she describes, Seven A.M., depicts an anonymous storefront cast in the oblique, eerie shadows and cool light of early morning. If the fullness of summer is suggested by the lush foliage at the left, the mood is decidedly off-season and desolate. The store’s shelves stand empty, and the few odd products displayed in the window provide no evidence of the store’s function. A clock on the wall confirms the time given in the title, and indeed the painting seems to depict a specific moment and place. Yet a series of Hopper’s preparatory sketches reveal that he experimented with significant compositional variations, depicting a figure in the second-story window. He even considered setting the painting at another time of day. Josephine Hopper described the storefront as a “blind pig,” a front for some illicit operation, perhaps alluding to the painting’s forbidding overtones.