Nov 02, 2017 - Sale 2460

Sale 2460 - Lot 304

Price Realized: $ 317,000
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 150,000 - $ 200,000
The Lonely House.

Etching printed in black on cream wove paper, 1923. 214x260 mm; 8x10 inches, full margins. An intended edition of 100, though likely significantly smaller. Signed in pencil, lower right. A brilliant, richly-inked and proof-like impression of this exceedingly scarce, important etching, with boldly-inked shadows, a warm film of inking in some areas and clean-wiped in others, and with crisp, inky plate edges and very strong contrasts.

We have found only 4 other impressions at auction in the past 30 years (the most recent impression sold at Sotheby's, New York, April 26, 2012, lot 34).

The Lonely House depicts two children playing in front of a stand alone home in an urban or suburban setting. As is typical of Hopper, a sense of isolation and destitution pervades the scene. The children are thwarted by the structure, the upper portion of which is cropped out of the composition. Details are sparse: there is the surrounding brush, the hint of a road in the foreground, and the front and side of the structure, the former of which is detailed with cross-hatching, and the latter of which is nearly featureless, a juxtaposition which is typical of Hopper's mature style. He pays close attention to the architectural details of the house without idealizing it, and plays with shadows to capture the way sunlight would hit the house at a certain time of day.

The Lonely House, done in 1923, foreshadows Hopper's mature style, which is said to arrive with House by the Railroad (oil on canvas, 1925, The Museum of Modern Art, New York). Like in The Lonely House, the structure, standing alone against the nothingness, epitomizes Hopper's ability to imbue a straightforward, seemingly rudimentary scene with an unmistakable mood, as if by stripping the scene to its essence, he reveals something significant through its very presence. Hopper consistently returned to the motif of a lone house throughout his career, as it was an apt symbol for the dichotomies that haunted and inspired him: of inner and outer life, the new and the old, and collective consciousness versus individual isolation. Levin 102.