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Pa. Academy of Fine Arts Hopes For $22 Million+ In Sale of Hopper Painting

"East Wind Over Weehawken," by Edward Hopper.  Image provided by PAFA)

“East Wind Over Weehawken,” by Edward Hopper. Image provided by PAFA)

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By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts has announced it will sell one of its two Edward Hopper oil paintings to create an endowment for new acquisitions.

The artwork, a 1934 streetscape called “East Wind Over Weehawken,” goes up for auction in December.

Christie’s has told PAFA that the painting should sell for between $22 million and $28 million — a ten-thousandfold return on the museum’s original investment.

“We paid $2,750 when we purchased it,” notes Harry Philbrick, the academy’s museum director.

He says the new endowment created with the proceeds from the sale will be used to fill in gaps in the museum’s historic collection but will focus on contemporary art.

“We really want to not only build the museum collection but also to involve the school,” he tells KYW Newsradio.  “We are in the business of training artists, so by exposing our young artists to the artists of our time, we feel we’re helping to bring the school and the museum closer together.”

And Hopper fans should have no fear.  The museum is keeping its other Hopper oil, “Apartment Houses,” which it bought in 1925 — the Hopper work bought by a museum.