Despite being in an all-hours Automat designed for the automatic delivery of drinks and snacks, deemed the modern and "proper" place for ladies to dine, she sits alone and appears lost in thought.
Hopper's wife, Jo, modelled for this painting, although Hopper altered her physical features and made her slightly younger for this scene. She is dressed in the twenties style cloche hat which doesn't quite match the green fur-trimmed coat, suggesting it is cold outside. Just one glove is removed.
Hopper uses a variety of techniques to emphasize both her vulnerability and loneliness. The viewer sees nothing of the outside world, just the reflection of the Automat's lights in the dark window. The Automat is spacious, both these things focus the viewer's attention on the woman.
The back of the chair invites the viewer nearer, yet the visibility of the woman's legs, which Hopper seems to have deliberately highlighted, would have made the viewer feel slightly voyeuristic in 1927.
The woman's eyes are downcast, staring into the cup and an empty plate suggests she has been there some time. There is a dramatic tension overall and while the woman may look sad, the painting encourages to viewer to consider her story and empathize with her situation.
This picture was first displayed on Valentine's Day 1927 in Rehn Galleries New York and was sold by April.
Hopper's incredible skill at capturing a scene and allowing the viewer to ponder the story is phenomenal. His images are strikingly beautiful, and thoroughly absorbing. Automat is no exception.