Edward Hopper’s paintings appeal to the voyeur in everyone. Many of his works in oil portray peeks inside windows in an urban area, or quiet streetscapes. In 1934, he painted the corner of 49th Street and Boulevard East in Weehawken, giving extra color to a bank of slumbering row houses and yards.
This past week, his painting, “East Wind Over Weehawken,” went on the auction block at Christie’s, with the auction house expecting to fetch $22 million or more. The painting is owned by the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, which hopes to use the proceeds to acquire more contemporary art.
At the same time, Weehawken resident Susie Felber, a mom and comedian, took the opportunity to have a friend paint a modern version to sell to raise money for the Weehawken Parent Teacher Participation Association.
Felber also is selling prints, cards, and calendars online related to the painting.
The painting depicts the corner of 49th Street and Boulevard East.
The bidding for Gardner’s version started at $500 on eBay in late November. The item can be found at: http://www.ebay.com/itm/ORIGINAL-Painting-East-Wind-Over-Weehawken-2013-Signed-by-Stephen-Gardner-/251384054125?pt=Art_Paintings&hash=item3a87a8416d.
Felber, who is a class mom at Daniel Webster School, said that she has helped raise money with Breakfast with Santa and raffles. When she heard about the auction, she thought this might be a new way to raise money.
“For the most part, I’m really just a mom and a writer and a comedian and a social media manager for major companies; I have all these jobs,” she said. “I adore Weehawken. I knew about the Weehawken painting before all of this. I was excited that it’s an actual scene and it still exists today. When I heard that they were selling the original, I got the crazy idea to commission the painting from Steve, and see if a Weehawken lover or art lover, or someone who wants to support schools, will buy it.”
Gardner titled his 2013 version “East Wind Over Weehawken” as well. Felber said that if the painting sells for a few thousand dollars, it will be a steal.
She said she loves living in Weehawken.
“I moved from Manhattan,” she said, “and friends act like you’ve gone to Iraq. Weehawken, New Jersey is so exotic to them. Maybe they know Hoboken because it’s on the train, or Jersey City. Weehawken seems so far away.”
But it won’t be so far away for the person who buys either painting!
Interested parties can follow the Gardner version or the more pricy version on the internet.
The auction at Christie’s began on Dec. 5. Follow it at http://www.christies.com/lotfinder/paintings/edward-hopper-east-wind-over-weehawken-5752388-details.aspx.
Caren Matzner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org