The Long Leg

Edward Hopper
1882–1967

The Long Leg

ca. 1930
Oil on canvas

Gift of the Virginia Steele Scott Foundation
83.8.25

Edward Hopper's paintings are characterized by isolation, melancholy, and loneliness. The Long Leg depicts a sailboat near the Long Point Light at Provincetown, Massachusetts, at about 3 o'clock in the afternoon. The boat sails against the wind in a zigzag series of short and long tacks, or legs. Although the painting portrays a scene of leisure, no people are visible on the boat or in the landscape. Hopper's precise observation of light and of the behavior of the boat link him to a tradition of American Realism, but the stark, reductive composition and mood of isolation reflect the abstract, impersonal spirit of Modernism.