Sotheby’s Sale Helps SFMOMA Upgrade a Hopper


Edward Hopper’s 1939 canvas Bridle Path brought $10.4 million this morning at Sotheby’s New York, more than double its low estimate, bolstering the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s acquisition budget.

The work shows three figures on horseback riding through New York’s Central Park toward the West 72nd Street entrance, about to ride under the Riftstone Arch, with the Dakota Building in the background. The equestrian subject is unusual in Hopper’s oeuvre.

It’s the first Hopper oil by the artist to appear at auction since Sotheby’s 2006 sale of Hotel Window (1955), which fetched $26.8 million, the current auction record for the artist.

In March SFMOMA acquired Hopper’s much larger Intermission (1963) from San Francisco’s Fraenkel Gallery. One of the last four paintings he finished before his death in 1967, it is among his largest paintings at 40 by 60 inches. It shows a lone woman, seated in the front row of a theater, her face turned down in contemplation.

Christie’s New York’s American art sale yesterday totaled $27 million.