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Ground Swell by Edward Hopper
Ground Swell by Edward Hopper

Ground Swell, 1939

Edward Hopper

What do you notice first? The blue sky, sun-kissed figures, and vast rolling water create a sense of calm? Hopper's figures, however, are transfixed by the bell buoy, which strikes a dark note in the otherwise sunny scene. The function of a bell buoy is to issue auditory warning of submerged dangers or channel boundaries. Though the artist resisted offering explanations of his paintings, signs of impending danger here may also reference a more severe disturbance. During the time that Hopper worked on "Ground Swell," from August to September 15, 1939, World War II broke out in Europe.

National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
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