1922 Edward Hopper & 1926 John Sloan Etchings
Appraised Value: $105,000 (2013)
IMAGE: 1 of 4
Appraisal Video: (3:28)
Prints & Posters
Director, Works of Art on Paper
Swann Auction Galleries
GUEST: These were a birthday gift to me from my brother. My brother has a fabulous art collection. I admired him from when he bought them in the '70s, and one day he surprised me and gave them to me.
APPRAISER: Where was he buying them?
GUEST: He bought them in New York. My brother worked for the post office his entire life.
GUEST: And if he was a little overextended, he would eat tuna fish for weeks and he'd work overtime.
APPRAISER: So he extended himself to buy art.
APPRAISER: And what do you know about them?
GUEST: Well, this is a John Sloan, and I know he was part of the Ashcan Society.
GUEST: I liked the image. I know he did a lot of them. Where this is an Edward Hopper, and it was my understanding he did less prints.
APPRAISER: They're both etchings by artists who work principally in New York in the early part of the 1900s. Sloan and Hopper both made money initially as illustrators.
APPRAISER: And it wasn't until later on that they gained traction and started selling their works very well and didn't have to do illustrative commercial work any longer. In the early 1900s, Sloan had come to New York from Philadelphia, and as you said, he was one of the leading members of what's known as the Ashcan School, which included George Bellows as well. And these were artists who depicted the gritty scenes of New York, the underside, if you will, of New York.
APPRAISER: Hopper was making etchings in New York as early as 1905. Now, this is an etching called, "Easter Eve." It's a view of Washington Square Park and the arch in Washington Square. You can see here it's signed John Sloan, and it's annotated 100 proofs. So there was an edition of 100 made of these. The other interesting tie-in is that Hopper's studio was on Washington Square north, basically looking out at this view of Washington Arch.
APPRAISER: There's a nice dialogue going on between these two etchings that your brother gave you. Now, the Hopper etching is a lot more scarce than the Sloan etching, although they date from about the same time. As the Sloan is, it's signed down here in pencil, but it's from a much smaller edition, probably somewhere between 25 and 50 prints, maximum.
APPRAISER: And it's called "The Railroad," and it was made in 1922. Did your brother ever tell you anything about what their value was? Did you have them appraised?
GUEST: I've never had them appraised and I really don't know what they're worth.
APPRAISER: What's your guess?
GUEST: Maybe I'm over-aggressive; I thought $40,000 a piece.
APPRAISER: $40,000 for each of them, you think?
APPRAISER: Okay, well, they are in beautiful shape. These are as close to as-issued condition from the 1920s as you expect to find today.
APPRAISER: They're nearly 100 years old. I hope I don't disappoint you with this, but the Sloan would have a replacement value of around $5,000.
GUEST: Oh my, okay.
APPRAISER: On the other hand, the Hopper, which is just beautiful and so scarce, has a replacement value of about $100,000.
APPRAISER: So it's a beautiful print, and it's a great set by two masters of New York printmaking from the early part of the 1900s.
APPRAISER: And you couldn't have gotten a nicer birthday gift.
GUEST: I couldn't have gotten a nicer brother.
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