Painting: A Certain Alienated Majesty

Talk was never Edward Hopper's strong suit. His wife Jo, the chatterbox in the family, once observed: "Conversation with Eddie is just like dropping a stone in a well, except that it doesn't thump when it hits bottom." Hopper's eloquence was visual. When he died last week at the age of 84, in the Washington Square studio where he had lived for the past 54 years, he left a half-century-long portrait of the workaday face of America. He had captured it with all the homely honesty of a foursquare realist—but in the lambent...

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