The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts is selling this Edward Hopper painting, East Wind over Weehawken (1934), in December at Christie’s with an estimate of $22-28m following the $19m sale of Hopper’s “Blackwell’s Island” which was in turn picked up by the Crystal Bridges Museum. PAFA is keeping its other Hopper painting, Apartment Houses, which was the artist’s first work to be acquired by a museum and using the proceeds from East Wind over Weehawken to bulk up the endowment and purchase contemporary art.
The museum’s director, Harry Philbrick, wrote in PAFA’s press release:
“We are going back to our tradition of actively collecting contemporary art. Just as we purchased Apartment Houses when Hopper was still an emerging artist, we will use the proceeds from the endowment to build a broad base of the works of today’s emerging and mid-career artists, and tomorrow’s.”
Mr. Philbrick said that if the work fetches its estimate, it will quintuple the funds generated annually for the purchase of art. About 25 percent of the endowment will be dedicated to filling gaps in the collection of historic art, but around three quarters of new investments will be in contemporary art.
The main focus will be American painting and sculpture, Mr. Philbrick said, but “we will be looking to buy significant works across various mediums.” The museum recently added a Bill Viola video installation to its collection.
Pennsylvania Museum Selling a Hopper to Raise Endowment for Contemporary Art (ArtsBeat/NYTimes)