Edward Hopper’s “Blackwell’s Island,” a view of what is now known as Roosevelt Island off Manhattan in the East River, will go on display soon at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.
The Hopper, which shows an industrial waterway and a Victorian manse in the background — a reference to change — is a departure from the style most of us know Hopper by, those moody night scenes of urban diners, emotional isolation and dark-windowed buildings. Museum President Don Bacigalupi calls the river landscape a “most ambitious composition.”
“He painted this work at the height of his powers and it exemplifies some of the best of Hopper’s style: a complex architectural composition with a full range of light and shadow, few people and the drama of the past colliding with the present in the form of historic architecture meeting modern.”
The announcement from the museum says the acquisition “fills an important place in the Crystal Bridges collection of post-World War I artwork.”
The museum news release said the painting was bought from a private collector. However, it was the star piece in Christie’s May 23 American art auction this year, selling for $19 million. The painting has been exhibited in the nation’s most important museums and was included in the first major Hopper retrospective at the Grand Palais in Paris from October 2012 through February 2013.