What’s it worth to own a famous artist’s-eye view of Weehawken? That’s what auction house Christie’s aims to find out on December 5 when it opens the bidding for Edward Hopper’s 1934 oil on canvas East Wind Over Weehawken.
Hopper, a popular American realist, was based in New York City and frequently traveled across the Hudson to capture Depression-era suburban life. The streetscape depicted in the painting looks eerily similar today, as if eight decades never touched the Weehawken corner at 49th Street and Boulevard East. There are some changes; the vacant lot for sale in the foreground is now home to an American Legion post, but even the urn-shaped flowerpot still rests in the front yard of the blue colonial home (now painted white). Hopper created the final painting in his studio after sketching the intersection on-location during eight separate visits.
Christie’s American Art auction will be the first time the work has been for sale since the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) acquired the piece in 1952. The sale will support the Academy’s acquisitions endowment. Estimated at $22 million to $28 million, East Wind represents the height of Hopper’s career, completed just after his 1933 exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. At Christie’s last American Art auction in May, Hopper’s 1928 landscape Blackwell Island (depicting the East River body of land known today as Roosevelt Island) sold for $19.2 million, setting the bar for this month’s sale.
The American Art collection will be on display at Christie’s gallery at 20 Rockefeller Plaza from November 30 to December 4. Other highlights include Charles Demuth’s In the Key of the Blue (1919-1920), Oscar Bluemner’s Surprise (May Moon) (1927) and Milton Avery’s Mandolin with Pears (1945). Viewing hours are November 30, 10 am to 5 pm; December 1, 1 to 5 pm; December 2 and 3, 10 am to 5pm; December 4, 10 am to 2 pm. The auction begins at the gallery 10 am on December 5.