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The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts has acquired a number of significant works by Hudson River School artists of the 19th century, as well as work by contemporary artists, including etchings by Sue Coe and David Lynch's first foray into a kind of filmmaking.

Funds for the acquisitions, which totaled more than $2 million, were drawn from a number of sources, said Harry Philbrick, director of PAFA's museum. Acquisition of the etchings by Coe and an oil painting by Katherine Bradford marked the first time the academy has used funds generated by the sale of Edward Hopper's East Wind Over Weehawken, which fetched $40.5 million at a 2013 auction.

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Sotheby’s American Art auction, which concluded on December 4 in New York, garnered $83.9 million, far exceeding its high estimate of $62.1 million. The sale was highlighted by a collection of seven paintings by Norman Rockwell from the family of Kenneth J. Stuart Jr. -- the artist’s longtime friend and art editor at the Saturday Evening Post

While the entire Stuart collection sold for $59.7 million, the group was led by Saying Grace, which sold for $46 million -- the highest price ever paid for a work sold in an American art auction. The painting was estimated to bring $20 million.

Edward Hopper led Christie's American art sale, which wrapped up on December 5, with his painting East Wind Over Weehawken. The work, which depicts a desolate street corner in Depression-era Weehawken, NJ, sold for $40.5 million -- a record for the artist at auction. The overall sale netted $76.8 million, which is the highest sale total ever for the category at Christie's.  

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The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts will sell a painting by Edward Hopper to start an endowment fund to acquire contemporary art. East Wind Over Weekhawken is one of two paintings by the American Modernist artist in the museum’s collection. The work will be sold at auction at Christie’s in New York in December and is expected to garner between $22 million and $28 million.

East Wind Over Weehawken was purchased by the museum from Hopper’s dealer, Frank K.M. Rehn, in 1952 for $2,750. If the painting realizes its pre-sale estimate, it will quintuple the funds generated annually for acquisitions. While a portion of the endowment will be used for purchasing historic art, the majority of new acquisitions will be in contemporary art, mainly American painting and sculpture.

The Pennsylvania Academy will keep its other Hopper painting, Apartment Houses, which was purchased from the artist directly and was the first oil painting by Hopper to enter the Pennsylvania Academy’s collection.

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