American Art and National Identity

Eastside Interior

Fig 8. Edward Hopper, 1882-1967
Eastside Interior, 1922,
etching, 7-3/16 x 9 7/8
Brauer Museum of Art, Sloan Fund Purchase, 74.2

But there were limits to this optimism and a dark side to modern urban life. Edward Hopper's haunting print of Eastside Interior (fig. 8) glimpses the psychological and social alienation that is the underbelly of capitalist production. People, women and minorities in particular, are frequently isolated as the powerless and the victimized, as the cogs of an immense economic apparatus that tends to reduce human beings to the exchange value of their labor. Hopper's subject peers desparately out of a window as she works at a sewing machine. Her knobby hand tends the device as she looks without hope at a world of which she is deprived just as we viewers are not allowed to behold what she sees.

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