the subject matter of edward hopper’s gas
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. 
Gas is a 1940 painting by the American painter Edward Hopper. It depicts an American gas station at the end of a highway.
Josephine was instrumental in Hopper’s transition from oils to watercolors and shared her art-world connections with him. These connections soon led to a one-man exhibition for Hopper at the Rehn Gallery, during which all of his watercolors were sold. The success of the show allowed Hopper to quit his illustration work for good and marked the beginning of a lifelong association between Hopper and the Rehn.
Three years later, while summering in Massachusetts, Hopper became reacquainted with Josephine Nivison, a former classmate of his who was herself a fairly successful painter. The two were married in 1924 and quickly became inseparable, often working together and influencing each other’s styles. Josephine also jealously insisted that she be the sole model for any future paintings featuring women and so inhabits much of Hopper’s work from that time forward.
The house itself resembles many found in the New England towns Hopper frequented as well as his native Rockland County. And although Jo suggested that it was imagined, “He did it out of his head,” it is widely understood to be based on a house on Rte. 9W in Haverstraw, New York. A member of the family who lived there at the time distinctly recalled seeing Hopper sitting across the road working on a painting of the house.
In 1930, this became the first painting to be acquired by the newly established Museum of Modern Art for its permanent collection. Hopper was delighted later on to learn that Alfred Hitchcock used it as inspiration for the house in his 1960 film, “Psycho.”
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Hopper’s success in both exhibiting and selling his work continued to grow. In 1927 his solo show of watercolors at the Frank K. Rehn Gallery in New York attracted favorable reviews and every work exhibited was sold (including one work to fellow artist George Bellows). During the ’20s the artist also sold works to the Art Institute of Chicago, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and to the collector Duncan Phillips. In 1930 his painting House by the Railroad (1925) was the first painting by any artist to enter the collection of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York. Three years later, MoMA’s founding director, Alfred H. Barr Jr., organized a retrospective of the artist’s work at that museum, though some critics did not find Hopper’s realist style modern enough.
Sometimes it seems that Hopper (1882-1967) could have eternized almost any undistinguished moment of introspection or inaction in anyone’s life. That’s why his paintings can make us wonder about the opportunities for consciousness and revelation we have been blind to in ourselves. It is also why we strive to get behind the curtain of Hopper’s stillness and figure out what’s going on. The excellent “Hopper Drawing,” at the Whitney Museum of American Art, takes us there.
There’s not much action in the art of Edward Hopper, who revealed the American soul by freezing and monumentalizing the American scene. His paintings give quiet moments of everyday life an Egyptian stillness; they are fixed in an eternal present, shorn of superfluous detail, rendered as if carved in stone. Their blocky immobility is part of their psychological weight.