Gas (painting)

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Edward Hopper , 1940
Oil on canvas
66.7 x 102.2 cm
Museum of Modern Art , New York

Link to the picture
(please note copyrights )

Gas (German: gasoline ) is the title of an oil painting by Edward Hopper (1882-1967) from 1940, which, along with Nighthawks, became one of the more well-known works of the American painter. It represents a gas station on a country road.


Gas shows an empty road at dusk. At the roadside in the center of the picture are three red petrol pumps, which the gas station attendant is busy with, half hidden by the columns. On the right of the picture, only shown in section, is the gas station house, from whose open door and windows light falls sideways onto a small forecourt and onto the gas pumps. Next to it is an advertisement on a high mast: Mobilgas with a red Pegasus . The opposite side of the road, lined with a verge of withered high grass, forms the background as a deep, dark, impenetrable forest, above which the last light of a sun that has already set appears in the already darkening sky.

The special feature of the painting is the design using both natural and artificial light. The last shine of the sun plunges the scene into the vague, from which the red columns and their circular Mobilgas heads, which shine one behind the other in the same white and yellow as the advertising sign on the pole, stand out in the center of the picture as well as the orange forms the acute-angled shoulder of the road. The areas of light and shadow that the lamplight draws on the floor from inside the house are, along with the half-covered and therefore faceless figure of the tank attendant, the only indication of a livelier road. With the gas station attendant, who has already taken off his work clothes and in a white shirt with a vest, seems to be hanging back the tap he had just operated with which he refueled an automobile that had long since driven away, the strange lighting of the scenery leaves "a subliminal feeling of drama".


Old Mobilgas pumps

Edward Hopper painted the picture in connection with several petrol station images. In Four Lane Road from 1956, a gas station attendant sits in the sun with a disgruntled expression on his face next to his gas station, recognizable by the mobile gas pumps; his wife, who is leaning out of the window, seems to be just as grumpy as saying something unfriendly. As in Gas , the background for this scene is a lonely country road and an impenetrable forest.

For the composition in gas , according to Edward Hopper, he had long searched for a gas station like the one he had in mind, but found it nowhere. The aim of his painting, says Hopper, was the most exact possible transfer of his most intimate impressions of nature; in gas these are the impressions of the lonely American highway.


  • Lloyd Goodrich: Edward Hopper . Harry N. Abrams, New York 1971/1989

Individual evidence

  1. a b Museum of Modern Art: accompanying text
  2. ^ Edward Hopper: Four Lane Road , 1956. Oil on canvas, Collection Mr. and Mrs. Malcolm G. Chace Jr, Providence
  3. ^ Lloyd Goodrich: Edward Hopper (1989), p. 129

Web links