In Edward Hopper’s People in the Sun, five men and women sit on a terrace beneath a vast blue sky. Stark contrasts and cool light emphasize the eerie expressions, frozen poses, and formal attire of the visitors. Hopper distilled his memories of tourist destinations in the American West to create a scene that is strangely familiar but nowhere in particular. The precisely staggered deck chairs and bands of color indicating mountains, sky, and grass create an abstracted environment that veers between a real view and a stage set, as if Hopper were replaying a silent film of a family vacation. People in the Sun suggests a crowd of tourists who feel obliged to take in a famous scenic view, but do so with little pleasure. The canvas may reflect Hopper’s discomfort in the West, where he found himself unable to paint with his usual enthusiasm when confronted by the harsh light and monumental landscapes.
People in the Sun
- 40 3⁄8 x 60 3⁄8 in. (102.6 x 153.4 cm.)
- Credit Line
Smithsonian American Art Museum
Gift of S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc.
- Mediums Description
- oil on canvas
- Recreation – leisure – reading
- Landscape – weather – sun
- Landscape – mountain
- Object – furniture – chair
- Object Number
- Linked Open Data
- Linked Open Data URI