Edward Hopper's Food-less Restaurants (contributor post)

Regarding Edward Hopper's curious love of food places but not food itself, Carol T. from Boston offers these insightful observations:

The painter Edward Hopper seemed to care a great deal about what he put on his back, but not so much about what he put in his mouth. Photographs from the 1930's and 40's show a man with a stylish, if traditional, sartorial approach. Sometimes he wears deliberately rumpled tweeds, as though emulating the look of a university professor. Sometimes he's in a crisp black suit as befits a New York man-about-town. But he was much less discriminating about his meals: he generally ate in cheap neighborhood restaurants (although he could afford better), or, whenhe could bully his equally ungastronomic wife, Jo, into cooking, their meals often centered on what he described as "the friendly bean." Oddly, he painted a lot of restaurants, and in them, people are often handsomely dressed, but no one ever eats anything. The women in Chop Suey (1929) wear up-to-the-minute cloche hats and form-fitting sweaters, but on the table between them is nothing but a small terracotta teapot and an empty bowl. Similarly, in Automat (1927), the diner, wearing what was undoubtedly her best fur-trimmed coat and a dress with a daring at-the-knee hemline, hasn't been tempted by the meatloaf dinners or slices of pie available behind the glass doors of the self-service restaurant. Instead, she nurses a cup of coffee. Alone. And in Hopper's best known painting, Nighthawks (1942), the sharply dressed, hard boiled patrons of the Greenwich Village late-night diner sit at an almost empty counter, consuming nothing but cigarettes and sour black coffee, as Hopper himself may have done, night after night.

Chop Suey

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