Edward Hopper’s “Hotel Window” sold for $26.8 million to an anonymous buyer yesterday. The 1955 large-scale canvas smashed Hopper’s previous record of $2.4 million for “South Truro Church,” set in 1990. “Hotel Window” was predicted to bring $10 to 15 million.
From the ArtKnowledgeNews website:
Edward Hopper’s 1955 oil painting Hotel Window is a classic example of Hopper’s evocative exploration of the theme of isolation in American urban life in the 20th Century (pictured on page 1). Depicting an elegantly dressed older woman seated on a navy couch in an anonymous hotel lobby staring absently out of a darkened window, the large-scale (40 by 55 in.) canvas expresses the loneliness and alienation that defined not only a certain aspect of American experience, but also, in the artist’s phrase, the “whole human condition”. The presale estimate is $10 to 15 million.
Discussing Hotel Window, Dara Mitchell, Sotheby’s Director of American Paintings, has written: “Hopper’s bold, realist style and distilled compositional format reinforce the psychological power of Hotel Window and have close connections to many elements of film noir. The stark light, spare setting and lone female figure create an atmosphere of unease and emptiness which characterized this genre’s particular brand of human disconnection. Self-imposed solitude, the result of the individual’s disappointment in human interaction, was a societal ill that defined the American experience as depicted by both Hopper and the auteurs of contemporary fiction and film. Hopper’s interest is not in telling a story, however, it is in the single image and its evocative possibilities”.
Of Hotel Window Edward Hopper himself wrote: “It’s nothing accurate at all, just an improvisation of things I’ve seen. It’s no particular hotel lobby, but many times I’ve walked through the Thirties from Broadway to Fifth Avenue and there are a lot of cheesy hotels there. That probably suggested it. Lonely? Yes, I guess it’s lonelier than I planned it really.”
The painting, which had formerly been in the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, was sold at Sotheby’s in 1987 to Malcolm Forbes. It has a distinguished exhibition history, having been regularly exhibited, both in America and abroad, since soon after it was painted. Most recently it hung this summer in the Whitney Museum’s Edward Hopper exhibition as part of “Full House: Views of the Whitney’s Collection at 75″.