A solitary man, illuminated by the pale glow of a single streetlight, reclines on a bench reading a newspaper with his back to the viewer. He is almost dwarfed by the darkness that seems to press in around his pool of light, but he reads obliviously, contained within himself. One of the great painters of the American scene, Hopper moved permanently in 1913 to New York City, where he first earned his living as a commercial illustrator. In the following years, Hopper taught himself how to make etchings, for which he received his first artistic acclaim. Many of these etchings made between 1915 and the mid-1920s explore themes that would later become his signature subjects: the nocturnal play between artificial light and darkness, the isolation of city life, and the vaguely threatening nature of cities.