Monday, May 14, 2012

Sotheby's May 17: Hopper, Bellows, Hassam

Sotheby's New York auction of American Art on 17 May 2012 will be led by major works from Edward Hopper,George Bellows and Childe Hassam. The auction will be on exhibition in Sotheby's York Avenue galleries beginning 12 May.

Hopper's Bridle Path from 1939 (est._$5/7 million*) is the first oil by the artist to appear at auction since Sotheby's 2006 sale of Hotel Window, which realized $26.8 million: the current auction record for the artist. George Bellows's Tennis at Newport from 1920 is a brilliant example of his celebrated American sporting scenes (est. $5/7 million). In addition, the sale will be highlighted by a recently rediscovered work by Childe Hassam, as well as Western art from the Estate of Theodore J. Forstmann and the Collection of Margie and Robert E. Peterson.

Edward Hopper

Set in New York City's Central Park, Bridle Path masterfully exemplifies Edward Hopper's fascination with the mysterious. He imbues the image with his characteristic sense of anxiety and tension, as the three riders move toward an ominous black void under the Riftstone Arch, also magnified by the agitated stance of the white horse. The equestrian subject and focus on movement are highly unusual in Hopper's oeuvre, but the composition's sense of mystery is pure Hopper. The painting is further distinguished by its depiction of an identifiable location, with the city's infamous Dakota building in the background - a departure from Hopper's many ambiguous and universal settings.

The artist featured New York in a small number of additional works that he completed in the city - this group includes New York Movie, finished four months prior to the present work, which is currently in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Bridle Path is on offer from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and is being sold to benefit the acquisitions program.

George Bellows

Tennis at Newport is one of only four depictions of the sport that George Bellows painted, two of which are in major museum collections. The canvas shows a tennis match on the iconic horse-shoe grass court at the Newport Casino, which Bellows visited in 1919 while summering with his wife in Middletown, Rhode Island. Inspired by the sport and the elegant crowd, the artist painted two scenes of the tournament in 1919, one of which is currently in the Metropolitan Museum of Art's collection. Unsatisfied with the composition, he then completed two new works in 1920 - one of which is the present painting, while the other is in the collection of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.