The landmark sale of a blue-chip art collection, including Edward Hopper’s Chop Suey, has set numerous new records, following an auction at Christie’s totaling $323 million, held in New York on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Featuring prized pieces by artists including Edward Hopper and Jackson Pollock, the two-day auction included over 90 works owned by the late cruise magnate Barney A. Ebsworth.
Hopper’s Chop Suey, a 1929 painting of two women in a cafe and arguably one of the American artist’s most iconic works still held in a private collection, went for $91.9 million alone, setting a new auction record for the most expensive work of pre-war American art.
Willem de Kooning’s Woman As Landscape fetched a record-setting $68.9 million, and Jackson Pollock’s aptly named Composition With Red Strokes was the third highest sale of the auction with a sale of $55.4 million.
Ebsworth, who passed away in April, began collecting art in 1972, the same year he launched Royal Cruise Line. Pieces that sold from his personal collection also included work by Joseph Stella and Georgia O’Keefe, who, according to his obituary, served as a witness when Ebsworth wed his second wife, Patricia.
Christie’s noted that before his death, Ebsworth once said, “In real estate, three things matter: location, location, location. For me, collecting art was about quality, quality, quality. I would rather have a smaller collection of the finest pictures than dozens of so-so ones.” His preference was clearly an investment worth imitating.