Drug Store

Hopper, Edward

Primary Category: Visual Arts / Painting/Drawing

Genre: Oil on canvas

Annotated by:
Dittrich, Lisa
  • Date of entry: Feb-26-1999
  • Last revised: Mar-16-1999


Like Hopper's famous "Nighthawks," this painting shows a brightly lit corner storefront as seen from the street in the darkness of evening. The drug store is clearly an "independent" pharmacy ("Silbers Pharmacy") and it advertises "Prescriptions--Drugs--Ex Lax."


Most of the debate about managed care has focused on physicians and the quality of bedside care. Many have expressed dismay at one consequence of changes in health care, namely the loss of an ongoing relationship with a community physician. But similar changes, equally disturbing to some, have taken place in the pharmacy business, where the small-town corner pharmacy and the pharmacist who knows all of his/her customers and has time to talk with them about their medications are becoming things of the past. Chain, grocery store, even mail-order drug dispensaries have been heavily promoted by managed care organizations, driving out the small independent pharmacies. Hopper's homely storefront with its warmly glowing lights seems (unintentionally, of course) to symbolize that loss.


Executed in1927.

Primary Source

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston