Nighthawks: Social distancing with Edward Hopper

We all do just about anything Molly asks us to do because she bakes us tasty things.

So, when she asked us to help her recreate Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks last night, we agreed. (It helped that she had just plied us with a really tasty Cinco de Mayo meal of pork carnitas.)

Hopper’s Nighthawks eloquently captures late night social distancing in “a restaurant on New York’s Greenwich Avenue where two streets meet.” Molly’s Nighthawks eloquently captures four people who have been quarantined together for a very long time and are happy for a diversion.

Our very talented neighbor Sharon shot the scene from outside our house.

If you look too closely, you might see some imperfections in our shot. If I look closely, I see all kinds of stories.

The fedora that’s a touch too small for Vince’s head was once his dapper father’s. The shirt Molly wears is her chef’s coat, all beat up from a year of baking cookies and cakes at a Minneapolis bakery (the last two months on the 2 a.m. to 10 a.m. shift.) The young man with his back to the window is wearing his favorite sweat pants, which he bought on a family trip to Minnesota. Most of the books are missing from the book shelves because they are propping him up from his perch on a brick plantar that runs along the base of the window. (The afghan is covering all the plants).

You can see a light from a neighbor Rhonda’s house, and the outline of our other neighbor Linda’s house. This, too, fits Hopper’s theme of intersecting streets and the play of light.

Molly chose this painting because it suited the quirky design of our family room, with its large windows and paneled interior. She also found the theme spot on for this weird time in our lives. Many of Edward Hopper’s paintings featured socially isolated subjects. “Unconsciously, probably, I was painting the loneliness of a large city,” he said of Nighthawks.

I am also struck by the outside-looking-in quality of this painting, which is the way so many of us might feel like we’re living right now.

I hope you enjoy our Tuesday night project and please note that the smudge on the window is basil pollen from an overgrown plant and I will be cleaning that window today.

This is the original Nighthawks piece Edward Hopper painted in 1942. The red-haired lady is his wife.
Here is Molly’s recreation, wonderfully shot by our neighbor Sharon.