Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art acquires major work by American Modernist painter Edward Hopper

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art will soon debut a new acquisition of a major work by American Modernist painter Edward Hopper (1882–1967). The work, titled Blackwell’s Island, offers a view of what is now known as Roosevelt Island, located off Manhattan in the East River. The work will be exhibited in the museum’s Early Twentieth-Century Art Gallery, among works by other modern American masters such as Georgia O’Keeffe, Charles Sheeler and George Bellows. Painted in 1928, Blackwell’s Island is among the largest of Hopper’s oil paintings, measuring 34-1/2 inches by 59-1/2 inches.

Edward Hopper, Blackwell's Island, 1928. Oil on canvas. Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas. Photo © Christie's Images.

Edward Hopper, Blackwell’s Island, 1928. Oil on canvas. Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas. Photo © Christie’s Images.


The painting features a wide expanse of blue sky above and turbulent cobalt blue water below, bisected by a shadowed, brooding skyline of buildings along the island’s waterfront. In classic Hopper style, there is a sense of distance between the viewer and the remote, impersonal architectural subject, and evidence of humanity is almost non-existent except for a single dark figure that pilots a power boat cruising away from the viewer toward the right-hand edge of the frame.

Hopper is known for creating a sense of loneliness or isolation in his work, and he was particularly interested in capturing the older, vanishing architecture of the city. Water was also a major compositional element in Hopper’s work, and Blackwell’s Island brings all of these elements together in a large and immersive painting. The acquisition fills an important place in the Crystal Bridges collection of post-World War I artwork.

Blackwell’s Island, which was previously owned by a private collector, has been exhibited at The Museum of Modern Art; The Whitney Museum of American Art; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Institute; as well as the Art Institute of Chicago and other institutions. More recently, the painting was included in the first major retrospective of the artist’s work at the Grand Palais in Paris from October 2012 through February 2013.

General admission to Crystal Bridges is sponsored by Walmart; there is never any fee to view the museum’s permanent collection. The museum has welcomed more than one million visitors since its opening on 11/11/11. For more information about Crystal Bridges, visit CRYSTALBRIDGES.ORG

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