Edward Hopper (1882 – 1967) was an American realist painter, depicting both landscapes and social situations. Some of his most well-known paintings are Nighthawks  and Automat . His paintings are often said to portray people’s social isolation and loneliness, and even his landscape paintings feel desolate. Hopper’s paintings also inspired numerous filmmakers, for example, Alfred Hitchcock drew inspiration from Hopper’s House by the Railroad  to make his film Psycho  and Ridley Scott purposively wanted his film Blade Runner  to have the atmosphere of Hopper’s Nighthawks. Below I discuss four other works by this interesting painter.
I. New York Movie 
In this painting, the female movie theatre usher is standing in the hallway, consumed in her own thoughts, waiting for the movie to end so she can resume her duties. Inside, people are engrossed in a film that shows a mountain range (an exotic place). Subtly, Hopper may try to satirise the movie-going experience. We are made to believe that what we see on screen is the “real life”, which is exciting and full of action and adventure, but, in fact, the “real life” is in the hallway – still, and probably wrecked with doubts and everyday worries. Although just some metres separate the usher from the audience, we still detect a lot of (psychological) distance between them when looking at this painting. The usherette feels isolated and alone. She is seen standing and bathed in light from the lamp, while the audience is sitting in the dark. Light, often being the metaphor for truth and knowledge, may also hint to us in this picture who is experiencing an illusion and who is closer to reality.
II. Office in a Small City 
In this painting, Hopper wanted to give the sense of “an isolated and lonely office interior rather high in the air”. We see here a solitary office worker who gazes in the distance through a window. Even though the windows are very big and we see blue skies, paradoxically, the feeling is also one of claustrophobia because we are looking at the sitting man through a two-windows perspective, which still emphasises white walls. The man’s solitary and lonely nature is further stressed by the fact that so much of this painting is taken by the white concrete, while the man seems to be much smaller and distracted from his activity, day-dreaming. Even though his work is supposed to project “office-business” and a hectic activity, it projects the opposite: loneliness and boredom under the glaring sun coming from the windows.
III. Room in New York 
This image will definitely not be an advertisement of “a couple’s happiness”. Hopper let us see through the window at this couple’s evening activities. One interpretation is the feeling of isolation and loneliness which these two people experience. It is paradoxical because a mere metre seems to separate the couple. Yet, the man and the woman are not interacting and doing their own activity, while, probably, being preoccupied with their own thoughts. The feeling of isolation is further stressed by the fact that the couple is not facing each other and there are colour differences between their skin and clothes, giving the feeling of them being very different people. The feelings of boredom that they experience can be seen in the fact that the man is holding a newspaper, an activity (reading) which he probably had already done much at work during the day and does not really have to do now to relax. The woman’s position at the piano also signals her weariness: she sits sideways at the piano, as though she is not very interested in playing it and just wants to pass moments at it out of boredom.
Another interpretation is that this may be the image of “solitary contentment” – each of these people are consumed in their own activity, but it may not signal loneliness, or the inability or unwillingness to talk to each other. They are relaxing in their proximity to each other, but doing their own activity.
IV. Gas 
In this picture, it is evening, one attendant is at his gas station and no one is around. As Office in a Small City above, the feeling is one of loneliness or isolation because a lot of this picture is taken by nature and man-made buildings. This also stresses the insignificance of the man in comparison to the wider world. Although a gas station is supposed to be “useful” and “accommodating”, the sense when looking at this picture is one of futility. This is further emphasised by the fact that the road in this painting seems to lead further into the forest, where there will be minimal, if any, vehicle-activity. Civilisation and nature do not seem to correspond well with each other in this painting, and, even though the gas station has very bright lights and emphasises the colour red, these only signal its forced artificiality and do not help to attract late-coming visitors.