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    Sale 2163

    Prints & Multiples

    28 April 2009, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 27

    EDWARD HOPPER (1882-1976)

    House by a River (Levin 61; Zigrosser 13)

    Price Realised  


    EDWARD HOPPER (1882-1976)
    House by a River (Levin 61; Zigrosser 13)
    etching, 1919, on wove paper, a fine and strongly contrasted impression of the third (final) state of this rare print, printed with carefully wiped tone, signed in pencil, one of a presumably very small number of impressions (Zigrosser notes five institutions each with an impression; to our knowledge there are around ten known impressions), with wide margins, the palest mat staining in the upper margin, a few pale foxmarks in the margins, skinning at the reverse of the upper sheet corners (with a minute made-up area at the upper left), otherwise in very good condition
    P. 6 7/8 x 7 7/8 in. (174 x 200 mm.)
    S. 10 1/8 x 11 in. (257 x 279 mm.)

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    A rare and striking image, House by a River is a fine example of Hopper's preference for the etching medium thanks to its ability to impart a powerful composition with an economy of means. Conceived during one of his frequent visits to the New England coast, the artist captures a fleeting contemplative moment so indicative and integral to his characteristic style. The different impressions at the Philadelphia Museum of Art allow us to identify a first state and a final state of this subject, as well as possible intermediate states differentiated by inking and wiping of the plate. It was Hopper's practice to carefully modify the inking and wiping for each pull, thereby making each impression unique. These efforts are particularly apparent in the present impression of the final finished state where the juxtaposition between luminous highlights and intense shadow is beautifully rendered through the generous application of ink to the deeply etched lines. Having pulled impressions of the earlier 'states' on off-white or cream paper, the artist then selected the brilliant white paper of the present impression to further accentuate the inking and wiping of this the final state. One of only approximately ten lifetime impressions - the others all housed in public institutions with a few in significant private collections - to our knowledge this impression is the only example to have appeared at auction and provides an exceptionally rare glimpse of an important work by an artist so skilled and revered for his craft.

    We are grateful to David Kiehl, curator of Prints at the Whitney Museum of American Art, and to the staff of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, for their assistance during our research.

    Saleroom Notice

    Please note this lot is now framed.