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A Well-Traveled Masterpiece Comes Home to Newark

The Newark Museum's well-traveled Hopper painting is back in New Jersey, after a trip to Madrid and Paris

A well-travelled Garden Stater is home. After months in Madrid and Paris, the return was delayed by last weekend's snowstorm. No matter: Newark's Hopper is home.

Edward Hopper's "The Sheridan Theatre," painted in 1937, was on loan from the Newark Museum for an exhibit that traveled from Madrid to Paris, explained the museum's Andrea Hagy, who traveled from Paris to Newark with the painting. Hopper was a hit, she said. The Grand Palais in Paris has had three blockbusters; after Picasso and Monet, Hopper was the best-selling ticket in town.

"There were lines out the door," reports Hagy.

"The Sheridan Theatre" is one of the most-travelled works in the Newark Museum collection. However, said Hagy, sending priceless art work overseas -- or even down the street -- is never easy. Planning for exhibits such as the Hopper show begins years in advance, as museum curators craft a wish list of works they'd like to borrow. Curators at the home museum consider their own exhibit schedules.  

When the dates work, explained Hagy, the planning begins. On her end, picking up the painting, Hagy was first charged with inspecting the painting in Paris. After completing a condition report, the painting was packed and secured until time to return to the United States.

"Fortunately," says Hagy, "the painting was in good shape."

Hagy was responsible for watching the painting packed, loaded onto the plane, and then unloaded in Newark. The Hopper travels in a special case, and has a specially-designed frame that protects it from climate changes. 

According to the New York Times, the work was priced at $900 by the artist in 1940. Apparently Hopper offered the Newark Museum a discount of one-third, a bargain then and now. 

"It's a signature piece of the Newark Museum," explains Hagy, who became engaged in Paris. "We're happy to have it back."

The painting is at the museum and will be replaced in the American Art collection shortly. In the meantime, the museum has some 12,000 other works in the same collection, including the work of  Hiram PowersThomas ColeJohn Singer SargentAlbert BierstadtFrederick ChurchChilde HassamMary CassattEdward Hopper,Georgia O'KeeffeJoseph StellaTony Smith and Frank Stella.

Watch the Hopper unpacked in the video.

The Newark Museum is OPEN on President's Day, 12 noon–5 pm

Barrier-free entrance and café service available.

9 Washington Street, Newark, NJ 07102-3176 Phone: 973 596-6550

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