Sold 91+ million! Edward Hopper crushes world auction records at Christie’s American sale

The 1929 painting, Chop Suey, by Edward Hopper, sold for $91,875,000 (including auction and buyer premiums) on November 13, 2018. It was the premiere lot at Christie’s November sale of American art, and provided quite a return for the heirs dispensing the Barney A. Ebsworth marquee collection. A native of St. Louis, Ebsworth made his fortune in the travel industry (Royal Cruise Lines). He maintained ties with museums across the country because of his stellar collection. Reportedly, Ebsworth promised to gift the painting to the Seattle Art Museum about 2007 and contradicted those statements in later years. Even if it’s spelled out directly, wills and contracts can be broken.

The hammer price for Chop Suey was 85 million net which fell squarely within its presale auction estimate range of 70 million to 100 million. The buyer is unknown. There was a bidding war, and initial rumors suggest it was acquired for a public collection.

Hopper’s prices have raced since 2000. Hopper’s former record at auction was 40.5 million- also at Christie’s– for East Wind Over Weehawken, a 1934 oil painting sold  on November 26, 2013. That sale toppled Hopper’s prior record of $26.9 million (for Hotel Window). Just ten years ago, the Cincinnati art museum purchased one of Hopper’s masterpieces, Prospect Street Gloucester, 1929, for 2 million from yet another Christie’s sale. That selection was one of the countless smart acquisitions led by a superb curator, Jane Glaubinger. Hopper’s 1934 oil painting of Sun on Prospect Street had been part of the museum’s collection as a result of the Edwin and Virginia Irwin Memorial since 1959. (At 8.4 million, Cape Ann Granite was a savvy purchase from the sales last spring.)

c EDWARD HOPPER _Chop Suey_32 x 38_ 1929 oc_Christies presale estimate 70 mil to 100 million

Edward Hopper_Sun on Prospect Street _Cincinnati Art Museum collection

Here’s a look at iconic art inspired by #GloucesterMA for sale at the big auction houses November 2018

For sale at Sotheby’s November 2018

WINSLOW HOMER Yacht in a Cove Gloucester Harbor_ca 1880_wc_Sothebys Nov 2018 American pre sale auction estimate 200000 to 300000
WINSLOW HOMER Yacht in a Cove Gloucester Harbor_ca 1880_watercolor_upcoming Sothebys Nov 2018 American sale. Pre-sale auction estimate is $200,000 – $300,000

Last spring a Homer image of Gloucester boys in a dory fetched $400,000. Relatable, though not Gloucester: Life Brigade is expected to fetch 4x that amount at Sotheby’s; another classic motif , Gathering Wild Blackberries, is estimated to sell for $150,000-$200,000. There is a smashing Marsden Hartley of Dogtown.

 

EDWARD HOPPER_Two Comedians_ upcoming Sotheby's American sale Nov 2018_from Sinatra collection est 12 mil to 18 mil
EDWARD HOPPER_Two Comedians_ upcoming Sotheby’s American sale Nov 2018_from Sinatra collection_The pre-sale estimate is 12 million to 18 million. (Not a Gloucester Hopper- there are no Gloucester Hoppers in these November sales)

For sale at Christie’s November 2018

c STUART DAVIS_Private Way_(Gloucester MA)_1916_ oil on canvas_Christies Nov 2018 presale auction est 60 to 80,000
STUART DAVIS Private Way, 1916.oil on canvas. Christies Nov 2018 presale auction est 60,000 to 80,000

Besides Stuart Davis, artists featured include Jane Peterson, Martha Walters, Hayley Lever, and George Bellows. There’s a classic Nahant work by William Stanley Haseltine and a marine themed WPA mural study by Lyonel Feininger.

c EDWARD HOPPER _Chop Suey_32 x 38_ 1929 oc_Christies presale estimate 70 mil to 100 million
EDWARD HOPPER Chop Suey, 1929, 32 x 38 inches, oil on canvas, Christies steep presale estimate 70 million to 100 million (from Barney A. Ebsworth collection) There are no Hopper works featuring Gloucester in these sales.

Click on thumbnails to enlarge the photo and see descriptions. I’ll post results after the sales. 

 

 

Bring it home! Rockefeller Edward Hopper #GloucesterMA Dogtown painting @ChristiesInc

EDWARD HOPPER Cape Ann Granite oc 29 x 40 1928 est 6 to 9 mil private collection Rockefeller

Christies, the New York auction power house is currently marketing the Peggy and David Rockefeller art collection across the (art)world–Hong Kong, London, and Los Angeles– before the spring 2018 live sale back in New York. The collection includes a painting by American artist, Edward Hopper (1882-1967), that was inspired by Gloucester: Cape Ann Granite is one of the rare Hopper paintings remaining that’s not currently held in a museum. There are more than 110 Gloucester houses and vistas depicted by Edward Hopper.

Advance promotion of Christie’s upcoming Rockefeller auction have yet to illustrate the painting, although the artist’s recognizable name is mentioned in every press release and the painting is included in the world tour highlights exhibit. The catalogue for the sale is not ready.

Former owners of Cape Ann Granite have in common connections to Harvard, banking and art collecting

Billionaire and philanthropist, David Rockefeller (1915-2017), was a Harvard graduate and longtime CEO of Chase Manhattan bank (later JP Morgan Chase). His art appreciation began early,  influenced by both parents and the Rockefeller family collections. His father was the only son of  John D. Rockefeller, a co-founder of Standard Oil Corp. His mother, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller (1874-1948), helped establish the Museum of Modern Art, and the fund in her name helped secure Hopper’s Corner Saloon for the permanent collection. Several family members were Trustees. After his mother’s death, David took her Trustee seat.

Like David Rockefeller, the first owner to acquire Cape Ann Granite was a Harvard graduate, art collector and financier, about the same age as Rockefeller’s parents, and Hopper. Benjamin Harrison Dibblee (1876 – 1945) was the scion of  California businessman, Albert Dibblee. The family estate “Fernhill” was built in 1870 in Ross, California (later the Katharine Branson School). Benjamin H Dibblee was a Harvard graduate (1895-1899), an All-American Crimson football player (halfback and Team Captain), and head coach (1899-1900). W.H. Lewis, a famous center rush, was the Assistant Coach. (Harvard football dominated under this coaching team. See the standings below the “read more’ break.) In 1909, Dibblee donated his father’s historic papers concerning California’s secret Civil War group “The Home Guard of 1861” including its muster roll and pledge of loyalty to Lincoln and the Union cause. Dibblee was an alternate delegate from California to the Republican National Convention in 1912. As a  Lt. Col. he was listed as one of five California committee members for the American Legion in 1919. He was a big wheel investment banker at EH Rollins & Sons, a firm impacted by the Wall Street crash of 1929.

Benjamin Harrison Dibblee Harvard Football all american then Captain Wikipedia photo first purchaser of Edward Hopper Cape Ann Granite Gloucester MA Dogtown painting later owned by Rock
Wikipedia photo of Dibblee  from The Official National Collegiate Athletic Association football guide, 1899

It’s fun to think about Dibblee possibly visiting Gloucester during his time at Harvard, like so many students and faculty; then, decades later, acquiring a major Hopper because it was both a modern masterpiece, and a Gloucester landscape.

The Hopper Cape Ann Granite painting has me itching to research all Crimson team photos– not simply varsity nor football circa 1895-97– because of the (remote) chance of another Gloucester-Harvard and athletic connection. In 1895 Dibblee was involved with sports at Harvard at the same time as author and Olympian, James Connolly.  In 1899 both were involved with football; Dibblee as the Harvard coach and Connolly as Gloucester’s athletic director and football player**. Maybe they scrimmaged. Maybe they scrimmaged in Gloucester.

Hopper’s artist inventory log pages for ‘1928 oils’ itemizes Cape Ann Granite as follows: “Sent on from Gloucester September 27, 1928, 3 canvases. Cape Ann Granite, 29 x 40, Green picture on hill with rocks. Fresh green in foreground. Slanting shadows cast by rocks and boulders. Sky blue with clouds. Small tree on R. BH Mr. Dibblee 49 Wall Streeet of San Francisco (Lived near 14 miles from San Francisco. Knows Alex Baldwin in Calif. (SanFrancisco) 1500 -1/3. 1000 on June 5, 194 ” 

EDWARD HOPPER diary page includes Gloucester entries
From Hopper’s Artist’s ledger -Book, ink graphite on paper, Whitney Museum of American Art, Gift of Lloyd Goodrich

 

The pencil annotation “Modern Masters EH 1933” accompanying the thumbnail sketch for the painting on the right of this entry may be mixed up. There was a  “Modern Masters” exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) held in 1940 but it did not include this painting on the checklist. There was an Edward Hopper Retrospective held at MoMA October 30–December 8 in 1933 that did list this Gloucester painting, and the lender, Dibblee. (Incidentally, two other 1928 oils catalogued on that same inventory page, Manhattan Bridge Loop and Freightcars Gloucester, would both end up in the Addison Gallery collection at Phillips Academy.)

The Pure Landscapes

Excerpts from the 1933 MoMa Hopper retrospective exhibition catalogue:

“…When Hopper went to art school the swagger brushstroke of such painters as Duveneck, Henri, and Chase was much admired. Perhaps as a reaction against this his own brushwork has grown more and more modest until it is scarcely noticeable. He shuns all richness of surface save where it helps him to express a particular sensation…in spite of his matter-of-factness, Hopper is a master of pictorial drama. But his actors are rarely human: the houses and thoroughfares of humanity are there, but they are peopled more often by fire hydrants, lamp posts, barber poles and telegraph poles than by human beings. When he does introduce figures among his buildings they often seem merely incidental. Perhaps during his long years as an illustrator he grew tired drawing obviously dramatic figures for magazines. Hopper has painted a few pictures in which there are neither men nor houses. The pure landscapes Cape Ann Granite (9), Hills, South Truro (16), Camel’s Hump (22) occupy a place apart in his work. they reveal a power which is diconcertingly hard to analyze. Cezanne and Courbet and John Crome convey sometimes a similar depth of feeling towards the earth and nature…” Alfred Barr, 1933

“In its most limited sense, modern art would seem to concern itself only with the technical innovations of the period. In its larger and to me irrevocable sense it is the art of all time; of definite personalites that remain forever modern by the fundamental truth that is in them. It makes Moliere at his greatest as new as Ibsen, or Giotto as modern as Cezanne.” Edward Hopper, 1933 

Yale owns a related watercolor by Edward Hopper, Cape Ann Pasture

EDWARD HOPPER, oil on canvas, Yale University collection, Edward Hopper All Around Gloucester by Catherine Ryan

 

Catherine Ryan art image design Edward Hopper all around Gloucester MAProceeds from the sale of the Peggy and David Rockefeller art collection at Christies next spring will benefit 10 selected charities. Perhaps a magnanimous collector might consider this Hopper Dogtown purchase for the Cape Ann Museum, a philanthropic twofer in this case, and needed. Cape Ann Museum does not possess a Hopper Gloucester painting and if any musuem should, it’s CAM. We need to eventually guide back the Hopper painting Gloucester Street, too.

Gloucester Street private collection Edward Hopper all around Gloucester

Glou Street Edward Hopper

To date Christie’s auction house has promoted primarily a Picasso and Matisse as the star lots from this collection of masterpieces because of their hefty valuation. The presale estimate for the Matisse Odalisque couchée aux magnolias (1923) is 50 million.  The Picasso painting, Fillette à la corbeille fleurie (1905), a “Rose period Masterwork”, is estimated to top 70 million. The presale estimate for the Hopper is 6 million to 8 million.

Christies highlight page for Rockefeller does not show the Hopper yet Dec 12 2017
Christies first press roll out features the Pciasso and Matisse

 

The Picasso was diplayed in the  libary of  the Rockefeller Upper East Side mansion at 146 East 65th Street.   Its first owners were Gertrude and Leo Stein. Gertrude Stein hated it though her brother bought it anyway. After Alice B. Toklas (Stein’s partner) died in 1965,  MoMa trustees drew lots and were offered first pass on the legendary Stein collection. David Rockefeller won first pick, and selected the Picasso. I wonder how it will fare in this #metoo awakening. At the time of her death, Toklas had long been evicted from their Paris home as she had no legal standing nor benefit from any estate sales.

Gertrude and Leo Stein Rockefeller Picasso provenance
installation Leo and Gertrude Stein
Gertrude Stein and Alice Toklas collection at home
installation Gertrude Stein and Alice Toklas

Continue reading “Bring it home! Rockefeller Edward Hopper #GloucesterMA Dogtown painting @ChristiesInc”

LIVE: James Prendergast Library only sold 3 at Sotheby’s! Rockwell fetches 6.2 million

Christie’s and Sotheby’s held dueling LIVE auctions on November 21, 2017. Christie’s American sale offered 93 lots resulting in $34,131,500 total sales, nearly 7x the total sales of Sotheby’s which featured less than 67 lots because the Berkshire Museum lots were pulled from the sale. Sotheby’s* failed to sell more than 1/2 of the first 45 lots. I’ll update after the sales have ended. *Sotheby’s sale is now closed. The auction house sold just 34 of 67 lots, total sales  (including Buyer’s Premium) were $5,858,250. Christie’s sold 72 of 91 lots today.

It turns out that the James Prendergast Library deaccession (see prior GMG post) would have made more money and kept the art in Jamestown if they had not brought the art to market at Sotheby’s. Here are the three of  nine paintings to find collectors; two went under estimate.

 

One of Sotheby’s best lots today was a Dame Laura Knight which sold for $560,000, right within its estimate range.

dame laura knight  BRIT 1877-1970 The Fairground Penzance ca 1912 oc 55 x 75 sotheby's last sold in 1983 est 400 to 600000.jpg

Hammer prices unless otherwise indicated:

Christie’s Lot 15 Norman Rockwell What Makes it Tick, a 1948 oil on canvas, sold for 6.2million  (just above its pre sale high estimate, 4 million to 6 million) which came to $7,287,500 after buyer’s premiums were factored. Rockwell’s Returning from Camp fetched 1.9 million. A Winslow Homer Tynemouth watercolor fetched a hammer price of $170,000, above its presale estimate range of 100,000-150,000. The Martin Johnson Heade failed to sell; the Milton Avery self portrait went for $45,000 at the gavel drop; and the Paul Manship sculpture was unsold, bidding failing to climb past $240,000 (pre sale estimate was $300,000 to $500,000.)

 

Berkshire Museum on hold, but James Prendergast Library a go

On November 21, 2017, Sotheby’s (New York) will be holding a European sale and Christie’s (New York) will be holding an American sale. Both auctions feature works by artists with ties to Gloucester and neighboring shores, among them:

Christies Martin Johnson Heade 1819 to 1904 Haystacks oc 1878-1892 est 120 to 180000
Martin Johnson Heade (1819-1904) Haystacks, 1878-1892, oil on canvas, (Christie’s presale estimate $120,000-$180,000)
Paul Howard manship 1885-1966 Lying Doe cas 1932 est 300 to 500000
PAUL MANSHIP (1885-1966), Lying Doe, ca. 1932 (Christie’s presale auction estimate $300,000-$500,000)

There are a few Norman Rockwell works, including the classic What Makes it Tick (The Watchman), a 1948 commission for the watchmakers of Switzerland, oil on canvas. Christie’s presale estimate is 4 million – 6 million. Christie’s is offering a Cecilia Beaux 1916 portrait in its American online auction, ending tomorrow as well. It’s titled Mrs. Albert J Beveridge (Catherine Eddy/Lady Primrose) and measures 57 x 38. Bids open at $12,000 on this Beaux.

NORMAN~1.JPG

 

Sotheby’s Nov 21 Auction a tale of two AGOs

The Berkshire Museum story has several updates. As a reminder, the Massachusetts Appeals Court ruled last week that the Berkshire Museum could not sell its artworks on consignment with Sotheby’s until the courts settle. The Berkshire Museum is pushing for an accelerated court case. They have issued a press release which I’ve posted below the break. One trustee has quit in protest of the Museum’s intent to sell. The Massachusetts Attorney General office filed responses. It’s been reported that the AG is repeating unanswered requests for archives, financial papers and other material as well as questions related to museum contruction projects completed by another board member (speculating unconfirmed reports of conflict of interest.) Official filings and documents from both sides have been shared with media outlets. The injunction decision impacted Sotheby’s American and Impressionism & Modern art sales last week, and its European sale tomorrow only in that there are fewer lots for sale. The cover of tomorrow’s European sale catalogue featured a Berkshire Museum painting, Lot 18 now unavailable.

x LOT 18 Berkshire Museum Bouguereau featured on the cover of the Sotheby's catalogue 70 lots Nov 21 sale L'Agneau Nouveau-Ne THE NEWBORN LAMB oc 65 x 34 est 1500000 to 2mil.jpg
Sotheby’s lists Lot 18 as “upcoming” sale. Bouguereau L’Agneau Nouveau (The Newborn Lamb) oil on canvas, 65 in x 34 in (Sotheby’s presale estimate 1.5million to 2 million)

 

Additional Sotheby’s Berkshire Museum lots described as “upcoming”, on hold till the courts decide:

 

Sotheby’s European sale features fine art consigned from another public repository: the James Prendergast Library, Jamestown, NY. Unlike the Berkshire Museum, the library attempted to maintain its collection, but was unsuccessful. It did not receive as much press as the Berkshire Museum brouhaha. The New York Times ran a story this weekend, too little too late for any with aims to hold on. According to the article, the library had even lined up angel collectors willing to buy the great works to ensure they remained in Jamestown, NY.

Some critics of the sale are particularly upset that the library rejected a plan by two art patrons, Cathy and Jesse Marion of Houston who had proposed keeping the collection in Jamestown by buying about 40 of the works for $1.2 million and finding a new home for them in the city.” 

The New York State Attorney General’s office declined this proposal, instead requiring that the library sell at public auction.

“Mr. Rankin said the library had to pass on that offer because the New York State attorney general’s office, which oversees nonprofit organizations, had objected to a private sale without testing whether the paintings might actually bring in more if sold through public auction.”

The library founders made careful selections amounting to an encyclopedic world tour of artists and contemplative, dreamy scenes to enrich the experience of patrons of all ages. They are fascinating together. I love this beguiling and chatty magpie narrative!

James Prendergast Library Jehan Georges Vibert Le Nouveau commis oil on panel est 30 to 40000
James Prendergast Library collection: Jehan Georges Vibert Le Nouveau commis oil on panel. Sotheby’s Eurpean pre sale estimate is $30,000- $40,000

 

More works to be sold at Sotheby’s to benefit and from the James Prendergast Library collection

 

Continue reading “Berkshire Museum on hold, but James Prendergast Library a go”

Leonardo da Vinci Christ at Christie’s was a record breaker cue Gary Larson classic

The highest price an auction buyer paid becomes “fetched” in auction lingo. Leonardo da Vinci painting, Salvator Mundi, (Saviour of the World) fetched a stunning world record price –400million dollars at hammer price (450.3 million with fees)–at Christie’s evening sale November 15, 2017. Couldn’t resist adding a classic Larson into the mix of headlines.

classic Gary Larson.jpg

 

$400,000,000 Leonardo da Vinci Salvator Mundi record price at Christie’s Auction tonight!

250px-Leonardo_da_Vinci_or_Boltraffio_(attrib)_Salvator_Mundi_circa_1500

Confidence was in the room for the Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519), Salvator Mundi, painting which climbed from a starting bid of $75,000,000 to $400,000,000 (hammer price) at Christie’s Contemporary art sale Wednesday, November 15, 2017. The Mona Lisa value has climbed tonight as well.

The buyer’s premium for Salvator Mundi will bring the sale to $450,312,500.

Hammer price is the highest bid announced by the auctioneer just before the gavel drops. Additional charges include fees such as buyers premium, taxes, etc added to the hammer price.

Prior record private sales for a William de Kooning (Interchange) and Paul Gauguin (Nafea Faa Ipoipo) reached 300 million. This Christie’s auction sale is public.

The da Vinci was the 9th lot in a sale featuring 58 lots. Prior to the da Vinci excitement a Kerry James Marshall did quite well.

Live Sale still in process. Hammer prices so far

1B Adam Pendleton $180,000
2B Philippe Parreno $420,000 (est $250,000-$350,000 )
3B Kerry James Marshall $4.2 million (est. 1-1.5 million)
4B Frank Stella $3.2 million (est 2.2 – 2.8 million)
5B Eva Hesse $900,000 (est $800,000-$1.2 million)
6B Rothko  $28.5 million (est $25 million – 35 million)
7B Bourgeois $7.5 million (est $10 million-$15 million)
8B Vija Celmins  $3,500,000 (est $1,500,000-2,500,000)
9B   LEONARDO DA VINCI
10B Jean Michel Basquit PASSED
11B Keith Haring sold $3,500,000
12B John Currin PASSED
13B Andy Warhol sold $56,000,000

28B Milton Avery Pale Field, Dark Mountain 1959 approx 40 x 54 oil  hammer price was $1,300,000

Milton Avery.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

Sotheby’s auction tanked as Berkshire Museum art yanked & Paul Manship sculpture soared past estimate

The November 13, 2017 evening art sales –counting buyers’ premiums–totaled nearly $500,000,000  between two major NYC auction houses: Sotheby’s American Art sales were $19,407,375 and Christies Impressionism and Modern Art sales were $479,000,000 million.

The Sotheby’s sale was unusual because 7 of its 84 star lots were withdrawn just before the auction, a result of the Berkshire Museum litigation. (The combined conservative value of potential sales for the museum lots was $30,000,000 at the low presale estimate range. If the art is sold in the future its value will be more because of the increased familiarity.) Other Sotheby’s lots went unsold. Two Norman Rockwell works surpassed their estimates.  Of note for Gloucester artists fans, Paul Manship’s sculpture heavily surpassed its estimate. One Milton Avery sold within its estimate range while a second went unsold. There was a selection of original and rare Paul Manship sculpture for sale in Gloucester this summer (here’s the link).

Manship sold above estimate.jpg
detail of Paul Manship (1885-1966)  Diana, 1921, which sold for $975,000 at Sotheby’s on November 13, 2017  (hammer Price with Buyer’s Premium) Sotheby’s presale estimate was $400,000-$600,000

Christies sale night had several surprises including records for Leger ($71,000,000)

Christies Leger record breaker Fernand Léger (1881-1955), Contraste de formes, 1913. 36⅜ x 28⅞ in (92.4 x 73.2 cm). Sold for $70,062,500 in the Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sa

and a gorgeous Vuillard,

Vuillard

and big bidding for Van Gogh ($81,000,000 million).

Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890), Laboureur dans un champ, painted in Saint Rémy, early September 1889. 19⅞ x 25½ in (50.3 x 64.9 cm). Sold for $81,312,500 in the Impressionist & Modern

Christies superstar Fall lot is still to come and in all the news: Salvator Mundi –attributed to Leonardo da Vinci– will be sold in the contemporary sale alongside Warhol tomorrow. It’s been for sale since it was rediscovered in the oughts, but no museum purchased it and experts debate its hand and condition. The opening bid for the “lost Leonardo” will be $100,000,000. A Jean Michel Basquit sold for $110,500,000 last May. Christie’s marketing hype video “The Last da Vinci…”