Modern Art for Sale
Discover angular landscapes and colorful abstract expressionist paintings in our collection of modern artwork. Working in acrylic and oil paint, UGallery artists draw on the spirit of experimentation and design that characterize modernism. Find one-of-a-kind modern- and mid-century-inspired paintings for sale in this hand-selected collection.Read more
Unbeknownst to many, Modernist icon Edward Hopper began his formal study of art with a correspondence course. Transferring to the New York School of Art and Design, predecessor of Parsons School of Design, Hopper took the words of life class instructor Robert Henri (leader of the realism-focused Ashcan School) to heart. “It isn’t the subject that counts,” Henri said, “but what you feel about it.”
Hopper’s Nighthawks, 1942, which portrays four solitary, uncommunicative souls in an all-night Greenwich Village diner, is counted among the best known images of 20th century art. Recalling Henri’s charge to his class, the artist’s feelings about life in a big city are reflected in the subjects’ disconnection from one another. The deliberate omission of a door in and out is said to symbolize people’s separation from others in the world. Though records show the typically laconic Hopper claimed he never imbued his work with “symbols of human isolation and urban emptiness,” he readily admitted the isolation of living in large cities probably informed Nighthawks in an unconscious manner.
In May of 1942, four months after its completion, Hopper sold Nighthawks for the sum of $3,000 to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where it remains to this day. Seattle-area based luxury travel magnate, Build-A-Bear initial investor, and prolific Modern Art collector Barney Ebsworth acquired other Hopper paintings, including 1929’s Chop Suey. American art cataloguer Caroline Seabolt described the painting, where two women in the burgeoning female workforce sit opposite one another in the ubiquitous Chop Suey lunch venues of the era, as “having a special place in Hopper’s oeuvre…included in every major retrospective he has ever had.”
St. Louis-born Ebsworth’s exposure to art began in 1956 while stationed in France. Frequenting the Louvre, he developed an appreciation for the Old Masters. In the 1970s, he turned his eye to American Modernists, including Hopper and O’Keeffe, largely because they were artists he could afford. He amassed a collection,which grew to include hundreds of paintings from artists including Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning.
In 2007, Ebsworth promised 65 major artworks to the Seattle Art Museum (SAM), including Hopper’s legendary Chop Suey. Eleven years later, nearly 100 collected works valued between $261 and $364 million, including most or all of those promised to SAM (the fine details were not disclosed), were sold at a two-day Christie’s auction. According to news sources, the about face, which sent shockwaves through the museum and gallery worlds, remains a mystery, or at least a well-guarded secret, with museum officials declining to talk.
Sold by Christie’s for $91,875,000, Chop Suey set a world auction record, thereby deemed the most expensive work of pre-war American Art.
The artists at UGallery find incentive and inspiration from their surroundings, each with his or her way of working. Read what modern artists Mandy Main and Scott Troxel have to say.
“I’m an art historian as well as an artist who works on six paintings at a time, with layers of paint and glazes, usually two per day with drying time in between. I paint in silence and total concentration. The paintings are with me constantly; I even work on them while I am sleeping.” - Mandy Main, Modern landscape painter
“I like to look at objects, emotions or colors and break them down to the root or essence of their abstract form. The way these abstract forms then interact with color, energy and balance on the canvas, form my technique. I like my art to stand out, but in a modern, refined way.” - Scott Troxel, Mid-century modern mixed media artist