Office in a Small City

7:00 AM

Edward Hopper, Office in a Small City, 1953

At the end of sophomore year, a year ago right about now, I really wasn't familiar with art in any way. I could probably identify the most famous paintings, but I had no appreciation for art. I signed up for art history, and I thought it would probably be a pretty fun class. However, I wasn't really sure what to expect or whether I would ever develop an affinity for paintings in sculpture. Then, when I took the final exam for my English class, I discovered the first painting that I really connected with emotionally.

Hopper's works almost always resonate with me, but this one in particular had a vibe that I could understand. It felt easy to me to put myself in that man's shoes. I could empathize with him for some reason in a way that I rarely ever feel. He sits in the nicest office in his building, and yet he seems only more isolated for it. I love the color scheme--the washed-out beige tones and the faded blue sky seem to suck even more emotion out of the painting. I don't know what it was about that painting. Maybe it was that I saw it in conjunction with Raymond Carver's "Why Don't you Dance?" one of my favorite short stories. Whatever it was, that painting changed my perception of art forever. It made me understand that looking at paintings wasn't something that had to be done in cold, academic sense.

Paintings could be fun and interesting and evoke emotions in a reader that other media could not. In this past year I have seen a lot of art work. I'm not sure I have found one that I enjoy as much as this one. On that day in the middle of the whirlwind of finals, Edward Hopper taught me that art could be cool.

Editor's Note: The students were assigned to write about the artwork that has impacted them the most. These pieces will run for  about two weeks. 

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