#NEW YORK Edward Hopper‘s paintings are rare enough at auction and when one of them appears in a catalogue, it is the insured event. This one will take place on May 21 in New York during the traditional American art sale organized by Sotheby’s.
“Shakespeare at Dusk”, painted in 1935 and which will be one of the major pieces of the evening, belongs to Hopper’s New York City Landscape series – a subject he explored at the beginning of his career while studying under Robert Henri and which he continued to do until his death in 1967.
It represents the statue of the English playwright erected in Central Park, probably the only testimony of a literary influence on Edward Hopper’s work, which adds to the rarity of this piece. It is painted, at dusk, in that special light called “between dog and wolf” and that Hopper with his infinite mastery of colour transcribed to perfection. We can imagine, at the end of this autumn afternoon, the painter, Edward Hopper, approaching it. He crunches it, seen from behind, and installs it in the lower left part of the painting, like a detail, whereas it nevertheless constitutes its “central” element which immediately attracts the eye and reveals the talent of composition, the concern for precision
“Shakespeare at Dusk” captures this visual poetry of the twilight so special to this world city, when the cacophony of trams and air lines fades into the night. This magical scene from Central Park is part of Hopper’s famous series of New York City Landscapes – a subject he explored at the beginning of his career while studying under Robert Henri and that he continued to do until his death in 1967.
Rarity always, it is the only testimony – and tribute – of the literary influence on Edward Hopper’s work; the estimate is quite low, from 7 to 10 million dollars when compared to the soaring prices of the American artist’s latest pieces. Last year, “Chop Suey”, a much more famous painting by the artist, had been ripped off at over $90 million
Is it Sotheby’s willingness to compose an event in a rather gloomy context? Will the strategy be effective in getting buyers back to New York?
See you on May 21 to find out if, as if David Hockney or René Magritte, the estimates will be shattered!
Sotheby’s New York
May 21, 2019
10:00 AM (local time)