Edward Hopper – Portrait of Orleans

I came across another Edward Hopper puzzle by Pomegranate. This is a portrait of Orleans, Massachusetts. I read a very interesting article on this painting, the author gave a very interesting point of view on this scene.

This painting is certainly bleak, it seems to be a deserted town with vacant storefronts and a power line with no line, very much resembling a cross you might notice on a church. The product placement with the Esso sign is certainly a little odd too. At least I thought it was.

Well, in this article, they mention that by the 50s, when this was painted, Esso stations released a brochure specifically for African-American drivers, identifying the “safe” places to fill their vehicles. Driving was a new-found right and it’s not surprising to learn that some establishments, especially in smaller towns, weren’t always welcoming or would provide service at all.

Edward Hopper painted the white middle class, maybe it was an attempt to depict the African American drivers? But only on the very, very, edge of the painting.

Another interesting point of view is that this scene appears to be from the drivers seat, another limited view of the world. All in all, I didn’t expect to get so much from a painting.

I don’t want to give the impression that I’m applauding Edward Hopper, he seemed to be a product of his time, which certainly doesn’t measure up to today’s world.

All this being said, I love the aesthetic of this painting, the architecture, the lighting. It’s like you’ve actually stepped in to this small town in 1950.

This was found on a trip to Value Village in the Fall, 1000 pieces and complete.

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