Hopper’s ‘Chop Suey’ canvas is part of a $300 million Barney Ebsworth collection that will be up for auction at Christie’s in New York. The event will begin in November, including pieces from Pollock and de Kooning as well.
Although Barney Ebsworth doesn’t carry the name recognition of fellow Seattle area residents such as Bill Gates and Paul Allen, he was among an art trove that ranged from Old Masters to contemporary. Christie’s auction house in New York said in a statement on Wednesday, that more than 85 of Ebsworth’s pieces will be sold throughout November. All pieces being sold at the auction house is estimated to be over $300 million.
The auction will primarily focus on American art, led by artists’ including Edward Hopper, Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning. “This is the greatest collection of American modernism ever to come to market,” Marc Porter, chairman of Christie’s Americas, said in a telephone interview.
Ebsworth’s first American art asset was a 1914 painting by William Glackens who created a woman holding a glass of wine. The collector paid $29,000 for “Cafe Lafayette” in 1972. The piece is now estimated at $250,000 to $350,000, more than four decades after the piece was finished.
Hopper’s 1929 “Chop Suey” canvas, depicting two women in a Chinese eatery will also be up for grabs at Christie’s in New York and is expected to fetch about $70 million. If the piece does go for that price, it will become the artist’s new auction record. He currently only holds an auction record of $40.5 million from 2013.
While Hopper’s piece is estimated at $70 million, Jackson Pollock’s 1950 “Composition With Red Strokes” is estimated to sell for $50 million during the November event. De Kooning’s “Woman as Landscape” from 1955 is estimated at $60 million. Fun fact: actor Steve Martin once owned the de Kooning. The piece appeared at an auction twice in 1990 and 1996, and was not successful in selling, according to Artnet price database. The National Gallery of Art’s catalog noted Ebsworth bought the piece privately in 1997.
Ebsworth privately purchased another abstract painting when he moved to Seattle to retire. He paid $310,500 for Joan Mitchell’s “12 Hawks at 3 O’clock” at auction in 1997. The piece is now being sold at Christie’s who estimates that it will sell for $14 to $16 million.
“The Ebsworth collection is at least the third significant estate sale scheduled for this upcoming season, along with those assembled by food titan “Hunk” Anderson and Museum of Modern Art trustee David Teiger,” according to Bloomberg.