Sharing Steve :: New Stuff
Saturday, March 26, 2005
 

Steve is now listed as an exemplar of art collectors


The New York Times
March 18, 2005 Friday
Late Edition - Final
Section E; PT2; Column 3; Leisure/Weekend Desk; Inside Art; Pg. 38
By Carol Vogel

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A Hopper at Auction

For years, Sotheby's American art sales have surpassed those of Christie's. But Christie's is fighting back: this spring it will auction ''Chair Car,'' a 1965 painting of a rail car's interior by Edward Hopper.

While Christie's will officially say only that an estimate is available to clients ''on request,'' its experts have been telling collectors that they believe it will sell for $15 million to $20 million. That would set a new record for Hopper's work at auction, beating ''South Truro Church'' (1930), which sold for $2.4 million at Sotheby's in 1990.

Rather than offer ''Chair Car'' in its American paintings auction, Christie's will include it in its evening sale of postwar and contemporary art on May 11.

''Hopper is an artist that fits comfortably in collections of traditional American paintings as well as postwar and contemporary art,'' said Marc Porter, president of Christie's Americas. ''You need only look at the collections of Steve Martin or Barney Ebsworth to see the central place of Hopper in 20th-century American painting,'' he said, referring to the actor and a St. Louis collector.

Including the painting in an auction of postwar and contemporary art is a way of attracting as many important international collectors as possible.

''These are the buyers with the deepest pockets,'' Mr. Porter said.

The Hoppers that have fetched big prices in recent decades were painted far earlier than ''Chair Car,'' mostly in the 1930's and 40's.

''Chair Car,'' the artist's penultimate painting, was executed in December 1964 and January 1965. While some experts consider these later works less desirable, others point out that Hoppers seldom come on the market -- and that this one, which depicts several seated figures on a train with light pouring through the windows, is beautiful, large (40 by 50 inches) and evokes a bygone era.

The painting is from the collection of David B. Pall, a chemist and inventor from Roslyn Estates, N.Y., who died in September.

Mr. Pall bought the painting directly from Hopper.
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