A great Edward Hopper Gloucester watercolor to be auctioned at Sotheby’s May 2023. Whitney Museum selling 4 Hoppers from repository. And there’s another.

Do you know a cluster of homes perched like the subjects in this classic Edward Hopper watercolor painted here in Gloucester 100 years ago? Hallmark motifs and themes pair up throughout this bright and sunny scene: outhouse on the left and brush edged to the right (“nature calls”), passage between buildings and boulders, light and sharp shadow, double windows and curtains, roofline and sky, line up of chimneys, and the mystery of cropped views over the hill and off to the sides.

A house like the home on the right with dark trim and the pair of double stacked windows may appear to be a double story home from one side and as a single story from another. (A home at the corner of Webster and Sadler Sts. shows the vernacular charm and multi vantage points.)

At Sotheby’s May 2023

The drawing is available for purchase. The Whitney Museum of American Art is deaccessioning four Edward Hopper watercolors inspired by the artist’s travel to four locations: Gloucester, Truro, Vermont/NH, and South Carolina. Sotheby’s Auction House has listed them in their major upcoming New York spring sales: one painting for the Modern Evening auction May 16 and 3 paintings on paper for the Modern Day auction on May 17. A fifth Edward Hopper work on paper is included in the day sale.

Images: Edward Hopper works from the Whitney collection at Sotheby’s auction May 2023, images left to right: Lot 434 Red Barn in Autumn Landscape, 1927; Lot 430 Gloucester Group of Houses 1923 est 500,000 – 700,000; Lot 432 The Battery, Charleston, SC 1929 est 500-700,000; Lot 145 Cobb’s Barn, South Truro, circa 1930-33, presale estimate 8-12 million. This painting was selected for display in the Oval Office* by President Obama. A later Edward Hopper Cape Cod watercolor from 1943, Four Dead Trees, with a presale estimate of 700,000-1,000,000, sold at Christie’s on April 23, 2023 for 1.5 million (price realized includes added fees). Lot 531 an Edward Hopper Sailboat study from 1899 from the Sanborn batch, presale est. $100,000 (w/ art and papers in the Nyack home following Hoppers’ deaths.)

White House Oval Office installation view 2014

image: Portrait of President Obama viewing Edward Hopper paintings in the Oval Office by Chuck Kennedy. Loan from/by the Whitney Art Museum 2014 (and other selections and guidance see Michael Rosenfeld Gallery)

On right, Hopper’s NY Rooftops 1927 reminds me of the Gloucester forms ( installation view Whitney NY, Jan 2023), like vessels on the Hudson. Photo c ryan

*I wrote about art at the White House in 2014 which was published here on GMG in 2015:

“What’s the best art inside the White House? No matter what is your artistic preference, Gloucester and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts could top the charts as the City and state with the best and most art ties featured at the White House. Let’s break down a selection of that Massachusetts list currently on display at the White House room-by-room, shall we?

Not one, but two Edward Hopper paintings, lent by the Whitney Museum of American Art, were installed one over the other, Cobb’s Barns, South Truro and Burly Cobb’s House, South Truro. The Childe Hassam’s painting, Avenue in the Rain, and Norman Rockwell’s painting, Statue of Liberty, were displayed nearby.

…How does the White House collection work? It is unusual for the White House to accept art by living artists. There are more than 450 works of art in the permanent collection. New art enters the collection after its vetted and is restricted to works created at least 25 years prior to the date of acquisition. For the public rooms, the Office of the Curator works with the White House advisory committee, the First Lady serves as the Honorary Chair, and the White House Historical Association. The private rooms are the domain of the First Family. Works of art from collectors, museums, and galleries can be requested for temporary loans and are returned at the end of the President’s final term. The Obamas have selected contemporary art, including abstract art, from the permanent collection, and borrowed work for their private quarters. Besides the Hopper paintings and John Alston’s Martin Luther King sculpture, they’ve selected art by *Anni Albers, *Josef Albers, Edgar Degas, Jasper Johns, Louise Nevelson, *Robert Rauschenberg, Edward Ruscha, and *Alma Thomas.” * indicates works that have been donated to the permanent collection.

Catherine Ryan, 2014

There are more than 120 Edward Hopper works inspired by Gloucester, MA. See Edward Hopper all around Gloucester. The Whitney Museum has sold Hoppers before. I’ll write more about that for another post.

2 thoughts on “A great Edward Hopper Gloucester watercolor to be auctioned at Sotheby’s May 2023. Whitney Museum selling 4 Hoppers from repository. And there’s another.

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