More about Gas
Getting some gas in the twilight zone with Edward Hopper
While this might look like that all-american 40s/50s gas station around the corner it is not. Or maybe it is, who knows? Hopper claims this was totally improvised and it isn’t based on any gas station in particular. But we’ve all learned a lesson or two from Matt Groenig lying to us that Springfield was to represent “anytown” and then it turns out Springfield actually is real!
Edward’s wife Jo wrote about the painting in a letter to Edwards sister Marion: “Ed is about to start a canvas - the effect of night on a gasoline station…” Well if eerie was what he was going for, he nailed it. I’d say there are three subjects Ed likes to cover, solitary people, melancholy and the lonely road. Gas has all three of ‘em! Yet, it’s kind of confusing. The guy doesn't look like he works at the gas farm. I mean, aren’t those guys supposed to wear grease stained overalls instead of a three-piece suit? So what is he doing all alone, at a gas station, without a car, at the edge of a forest? No but really, since our view is blocked, what IS he doing?
Edward is known for recycling his cast. This guy looks a lot like the older version of the the well-dressed theater-goer in Two on the Isle, painted in 1927. Yet, he also looks like a younger version of the guy in Four Lane Road, painted in 1956...
Also, are those bushes on fire? Is this purgatory? What is this?
- Gail Levin, Edward Hopper: An Intimate Biography, Alfred, (New York: Knopf, New York, 1995)
- Robert Carleto Hibbs and Edward Hopper, Edward Hopper, (New York: Smithsonian, 1987)
Here is what Wikipedia says about Gas (painting)
The subject was a composite of several gas stations Hopper had visited. According to Hopper's wife, the gas station motif was something he had wanted to paint for a long time. Hopper struggled with the painting. He had begun to produce new paintings at a slower rate than before, and had trouble finding suitable gas stations to paint. Hopper wanted to paint a station with the lights lit above the pumps, but the stations in his area only turned the lights on when it was pitch dark outside, to save energy.
Check out the full Wikipedia article about Gas (painting)