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Hopper revealed himself as an uncommonly close observer of people and places when in the 1920s he began to study the interiors of New York restaurants and focused on the young women clientele that typically frequented them. It was with Chop Suey and related paintings that Hopper found his most potent, enigmatic subject in the American city--the modern American woman. What Hopper created in these early New York paintings was a look at a social dynamic that was reshaping the urban scene--the influx of young women into the modern work-a-day world. The book brings together a group of paintings that shows Chop Suey as a part of an extended narrative of human vulnerability that evolved as Hopper studied women in new kinds of social spaces in New York.
Patricia A. Junker is the Ann M. Barwick Curator of American Art at the Seattle Art Museum.