Friday, August 6, 2021

Edward Hopper CHOP SUEY



Edward Hopper

The scene depicts two women at a table in a restaurant with another couple in the background. The only features being shown in particular detail are the painted woman’s face, the coat hanging above her, her companion’s back [to the viewer], the features of the couple in the background, the Tea Pot on the table, the masked lower window panel, and the restaurant sign outside. These are all features that would bring a sensory element (besides sight) to the memory painted: the buzzing noise of the outside light, the voices of the people in the background, the texture of the coat, the taste of the tea and smell of the cigarette smoke (held by the man), and the muddled light from the masked window.

Edward Hopper’s artwork is known for its realistic scenes that touch themes of isolation and self-being rather than a narrative context. He often described his art as a “transcription [of his] most intimate impressions of nature” meaning he related the process of painting to that of memory. This idea could further be described in another way as when, for example, you draw something from a personal memory, certain details can be remembered but everything outside the primary focus is blank background. Chop Suey captures this concept of memory, making the viewer focus on particular elements of sensory iconography whilst depicting a theme of isolation due to self being.

According to art scholar David Anfam, one "striking detail of Chop Suey is that its female subject faces her doppelgänger." Others have pointed out it would not be so unusual for two women to be wearing similar hats, and that it is presumptuous to claim doppelgängers when one subject's face is not visible to the viewer. The painting has an interior subject matter, being inside of a cafe, and does not focus on any one given figure. As with many of Hopper's works, the painting features close attention to the effects of light on his subjects.




Chinatown, New York






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