Market Overview

Christie's Announces An American Place: The Barney A. Ebsworth Collection


"It is the emotional and intellectual experience of collecting that
has been the most glorious and rewarding aspect of my life."
~ the
late Barney A. Ebsworth

Christie's is honored to present An American Place: The Barney A.
Ebsworth Collection,
which will be offered in a dedicated evening
and day sale in November as a highlight of its flagship 20th
Century Week
in New York. The collection of Barney A. Ebsworth
represents an extraordinary achievement in the history of collecting — a
singular assemblage of over 85 artworks that illuminates the rise of
American art across the 20th century. Highlights of the
collection include Edward Hopper's Chop Suey, 1929, the
most important work by the artist still in private hands (estimate in
the region of $70 million), Jackson Pollock's Composition with
Red Strokes
(estimate in the region of $50 million) and Willem de
Woman as Landscape (estimate in the region of $60

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here:

EDWARD HOPPER (1882-1967), Chop Suey, oil on canvas, 32 x 38 in. Painted in 1929. Estimate in the re ...

EDWARD HOPPER (1882-1967), Chop Suey, oil on canvas, 32 x 38 in. Painted in 1929. Estimate in the region of $70 million (Photo: Business Wire)

A global tour of highlights will commence in Paris 6-9 September,
coinciding with La Biennale Paris, followed by highlight exhibitions in
New York, Hong Kong, London, San Francisco and Los Angeles, and
culminating with the auction preview at Christie's Rockefeller Galleries
in New York. The tour in Paris will include works by Hopper, Pollock, de
Kooning, Kline, Nadelman, Davis, Sheeler, O'Keeffe and Glackens. The
collection is expected to realize in excess of $300 million.

Marc Porter, Chairman, Christie's Americas, commented: "Last
season, Christie's made the bold move of launching the $835 million
Collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller in Asia, underscoring our
investment and deep commitment to collectors in this growing region.
This season, Christie's Paris will host the debut of this stunning
collection for the global collecting community, positioning it in the
heart of Europe and paying homage to Barney A. Ebsworth's lifelong love
affair with the city that first introduced him to great art. His unique
journey as a collector resonates with the influence and art historical
connections of Gertrude Stein's Paris, and ultimately set a new high
standard for the creation of a nuanced collection of 20
th Century
Art that is without parallel in its exceptional depth and quality."


As a tribute to the former Stieglitz gallery, Ebsworth bestowed the name
"An American Place" on his home in Seattle, which was built in
collaboration with architect Jim Olson and designed as a dialogue
between art and architecture. Ebsworth's credo in collecting was
"quality, quality, quality," and with that mindset he amassed the most
comprehensive collection of American Modernism in private hands, with
many works having been loaned to leading institutions throughout his
years of ownership.

A seminal composition within the landscape of American Modernism, Edward
Hopper's Chop Suey
was one of Mr. Ebsworth's most prized
possessions (estimate in the region of $70 million). Possibly derived
from a Cantonese phrase, tsap sui, meaning ‘odds and ends,' chop
suey referred not only to a low-cost stir-fry dish but, moreover, to a
public destination where the societal fusion of different cultural
elements of the modern city came together. As in his masterwork Nighthawks
(1942, Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois), Hopper's 1929
painting Chop Suey distills the atmosphere of this everyday
eatery into a cinematic scene that at once depicts an implicit narrative
while creating clear allusions to broader themes of social isolation,
gender roles and art historical tradition. While having its roots in the
French Impressionist and Ashcan traditions of painting city life,
Chop Suey
incorporates a thoroughly modern play of light and color
to capture a specific restaurant that the Hoppers frequented on the
Upper West Side of New York. The most important painting by Hopper left
in private hands, Chop Suey epitomizes the psychologically
complex meditations for which the artist is best known, while uniquely
capturing the zeitgeist of New York during one of its most interesting
eras of transition. Chop Suey was included in the groundbreaking
retrospective at the Grand Palais in Paris 2012-13, which broke
attendance records for the location.

Porter continued, "Christie's is honored to have been entrusted with
this great collection which brings Hopper's great masterpiece back to
Paris five years after his retrospective at the Grand Palais. With
Nighthawks traveling to the Shanghai Museum this fall,
at the same time that
Chop Suey tours to Christie's Hong Kong,
the artist's two greatest masterpieces will be on view to the public in
Asia, introducing new generations of collectors to the brilliance of
this great American master."

Willem de Kooning's Woman as Landscape is a tour-de-force
of 20th century painting (estimate in the region of $60
million). Executed at the height of the artist's career in 1955, this
large-scale canvas belongs to a small group of works that are well
positioned among the most powerful paintings in American art. Measuring
over five and a half feet tall, Woman as Landscape is a heroic
painting that encompasses the painterly bravado and radical use of color
that singled out de Kooning as a leader of the Abstract Expressionist
movement, and one of the pre-eminent painters of his generation. The
shocking female forms sensationalized the art world, energizing and
scandalizing in equal measure, but his vivid brushwork came to represent
the dramatic shift in art that occurred in the postwar years, a change
that would alter the course of art history. Now firmly established as
part of the 20th century art historical canon, many of de
Kooning's Woman paintings form the cornerstones of major
international museum collections and as such, Woman as Landscape
is one of the only paintings from this important period of the artist's
career to remain in private hands.

Jackson Pollock's Composition with Red Strokes was
executed in 1950 during the peak of his extraordinary creative output
and is a central work to the artist's oeuvre, demonstrating his new
technique (estimate in the region of $50 million). It was these
startling, original and accomplished paintings that, in Willem de
Kooning's phrase, finally 'broke the ice' for American painting,
completely revolutionizing it and in the process reshaping the entire
history of 20th century art. The diverse, virtuosic and
carefully controlled markmaking in Composition with Red Strokes
represents the variety, subtlety and mystery that Pollock had achieved
in his new language of paint. Displaying a fascinatingly dense,
intricate and animated abstract surface, Composition with Red Strokes
is one of the richest, most engaging and successfully resolved of all
these famous works. Other works made by Pollock in this key period are
held at the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and
the National Gallery of Art.


  • Paris: 6 - 9 September
  • New York: 7 - 12 September
  • Hong Kong: 28 September - 3 October
  • London: 28 September - 5 October
  • San Francisco: 16 - 20 October
  • Los Angeles: 23 - 27 October

View Comments and Join the Discussion!