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Edward Hopper Leads Christie’s American Art Sale With ‘Two Puritans’

Edward Hopper (1882-1967), Two Puritans, oil on canvas, painted in 1945. Estimate: $20,000,000 – 30,000,000. Image courtesy of Christie's Images Ltd

Edward Hopper (1882-1967), Two Puritans, oil on canvas, painted in 1945. Estimate: $20,000,000 – 30,000,000. Image courtesy of Christie’s Images Ltd

ART AUCTION

Two Puritans by Edward Hopper expected to bring in the excess of $20 million at Christie’s Spring American Art Sale

BY KAZAD

NEW YORK–Two Puritans, a painting by Edward Hopper (1882-1967) will feature prominently at Christie’s sale of American Art  on May 21, 2015. The painting joins a long list of masterpiece slated for Christie’s Spring Auctions in New York. It includes a 1955 masterpiece Les Femmes d’ Alger (Version O) by Pablo Picasso, and Pointing Man by Alberto Giacometti.

Estimated to bring in the excess of $20 million, the painting is one of the only three canvases Edward Hopper  painted  in 1945 that is in private hands. This is the first time  the painting is appearing at any auction.

Two Puritans is an important painting by this celebrated American artist and print maker, as it was painted  at the height of Hopper’s career.

Two Puritans by Edward Hopper has an amazing provenance, and this is one of the reasons auctioneers at Christie’s are optimistic that it will make more than the stipulated estimate. The painting has featured prominently in every major exhibition and publication on Edward Hopper. Just recently, it was a major attraction in Paris at the Grand Palais where a retrospective exhibition on Edward Hopper broke attendance record.

Born on July 22, I882 in Upper Nyack in New York, Edward Hopper grew up to become one of America’s prominent realists. He was celebrated not just for his oil paintings but also watercolor, etching and prints that reflected his perception of modern American life. He died on May 15, 1967 at the age of 84 in Manhattan, New York. Many of Hopper’s artworks can be found in museums and institutions across the globe. Paintings and prints by Edward Hopper can be found at the Whitney Museum of American Art and The Metropolitan Museum of Art among many others.

Throughout his artistic career, Edward Hopper had a fascination for common place subject matter. His style of painting and theme  distinguished him from his contemporaries, and allowed him to create a new and unique American iconography. Although Hopper’s painting have formal qualities characteristic of other modernists, he was a realist.

Edward Hopper was  very unique in many ways. Besides painting aspect of  American life that only few other artists would address, his simplistic approach to rendering his subjects were unromantic. Yet, he distinguish himself among his contemporaries.

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Mundane as many of Hopper’s paintings appear, they are filled with meanings and subtexts that make them riddles for intelligent minds. The Two Puritans, for example, though appear ordinary has a complex  psychological undertone that belies the simplicity of the subject.  It is that intricate relationship between subject  and  meaning that has given Edward Hopper’s paintings credence in art history.

Deciphering the Two Puritans, Elizabeth Beaman, Head of American Art, reveals the complexities that have come to characterize paintings by Edward Hopper. She notes:

Edward Hopper’s masterwork Two Puritans can be considered at once an intimate and revealing portrait of the artist and his wife, as well as a testament to his dogged dedication to realism in the face of a changing visual world that increasingly championed abstraction. We are privileged to offer this seminal work, which has never appeared at auction before.

At the art auction market, Hopper’s paintings have been attracting record auction prices as collectors compete  to have them in their collections.  In October  2013, an oil on canvas painting by Edward Hopper titled East Wind Over Weehawken sold for $40, 485, 000, setting a new record for the artist.  In October of 2012, Cape Cod made another record when it sold  via Christie’s LIVETM for $9.6 million, setting  the world record for any item sold online at any international auction house.

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