NEW YORK -- An oil painting of a Cape Cod autumn scene by Edward Hopper – one of the last paintings by the American artist remaining in private hands – will be offered for sale in November for a pre-sale estimate of $8 million to $12 million, Christie's auction house said Thursday.
"October on Cape Cod" will be sold on Nov. 28 as part of Christie's American paintings sale, and will coincide with a major retrospective of Hopper's work at the National Galleries of the Grand Palais in Paris, opening in October.
"He's widely considered one of the greatest early modern American artists. His oils are very rare on the market" since most are in major museum collections, said Elizabeth Sterling, Christie's head of American Art. "It's one of the most important American modern pictures to come on the auction market in the past decade."
Hopper's "Hotel Window" currently holds the record for the artist. It sold for $26.8 million in 2006 at Sotheby's.
Christie's noted that painting had a pre-sale estimate of $10 million to $15 million.
She said "October on Cape Cod" had "tremendous potential" to go over the estimate given that Hopper was not very prolific in oil medium and created one or two works in oil and watercolor a year," said Sterling. "The auction market for American modernism is quite strong."
It is being sold by a private American collector who has owned it for more than a decade.
"It's dated 1946 and the 40s are widely considered his most successful decade. Also it's a desirable subject," added Sterling.
Hopper had a home and studio on Cape Cod and he spent most of his summers on there after 1930. He died in 1967.
The large-scale painting shows a house and small barn from across a road as it might be observed from a passing vehicle. Hopper drove all over the Massachusetts peninsula, frequently drawing and painting from inside his car. It captures the stillness and solitude of Cape Cod out of season.
His paintings are permeated by a sense of isolation and have characteristics of a suspended narrative," which you definitely see in this picture," said Sterling.
It will be exhibited in Hong Kong on Oct. 4-6; Paris on Oct. 16-17; and New York on Nov. 24-27.