Edward Hopper Painting Worth Millions Came From Dundrum Car Boot Sale

Bought for a few pounds probably at the Dundrum car boot sale, a small study painting by the late American realist painter Edward Hopper (1882-1967) is said to be worth an estimated $6-10 million (US).

But how did the painting, The Study of High Noon get from New York to Dundrum in County Down or even possibly Nottingham or London and back to Toronto in Canada?

[caption id="attachment_56619" align="aligncenter" width="540"]Blair Mooney from near Toronto shows off a copy of The Study Of High Noon by American artist Edward Hopper. The original painting was thought to have been bought at Dundrum Car Boot Sale in 2007 and resold on eBay for $580 US. It is now estimated to have a value of between £6-10million. Blair Mooney from near Toronto shows off a copy of The Study Of High Noon by American artist Edward Hopper. The original painting was thought to have been bought at Dundrum Car Boot Sale in 2007 and resold on eBay for $580 US. It is now estimated to have a value of between £6-10million.[/caption]

Edward Hopper painted an oil study of two women (his wife and her friend) and a dog by a doorway outside his summer house in Cape Cod in 1949. This study measuring 20×14 inches was blown up eventually to the finished piece called High Noon which is 40 inches wide and that is worth a staggering $60million, give or take a cent or two.

One of the four members of the family-based syndicate that now own the painting, Blair Mooney, has travelled over to the UK from his farm 100 miles north of  Toronto, Canada, on a quest to unravel the mystery of the painting.

Blair explained: “After having been hidden for many years, it was bought in I presume a flea market near Downpatrick which I understand to be the Dundrum Car Boot Sale which happens at weekends in the picturesue coastal village with the Mourne Mountains as a backdrop. Darren Mooney from Downpatrick appears to have bought it and re-sold it in any case on eBay in 2007 to my partner who paid $580 US for it. The painting was then later authenticated using art specialists and expert reflectologists at it was proven to be a genuine Edward Hopper painting. Hopper’s paintings have risen in value considerably over recent decades and he is now a very prized painter to invest in.

“We had an evaluation done and a reputable auctioneer explained that he expected the painting, which is not up for sale, would fetch around $6-10 million at an auction. We were astounded by this. The full ‘High Noon‘ full sized painting sold for $40million at an auction recently and  has since been evaluated around $60million.

“The reason I am in the UK now is to establish the history of the study painting. I spent time last week at the Tate Gallery in London and with a specialist art gallery discussing ‘The Study at High Noon’. I have now visited Downpatrick and I will be here for two more days and I will be flying back to Toronto.”

Blair explained that himself and his wife have a 450-acre farm and just before the recent outbreak of BSE, he sold his stock of cattle and horses off. He plans to turn it into a wind farm servicing the national grid. And he said also that he is a lover of art.

We are offering a reward of up to $5000 for information that can autheniticate this painting, its history in County Down, how it got here, who took it over from New York, where it was hanging etc. Someone must recognise it. Some family must have had it hanging on their wall. 

“The painting and frame may well have over the years looked a bit dated and been discarded and dropped off to the car boot sale in Dundrum to raise a bit of cash, possibly in a house clearance. So there is a handsome reward for someone who can furnish this essential information.

“I would certainly like to talk to Darren Rooney in Downpatrick who I understand was involved in an art and frame shop in St Patrick’s Avenue. Someone must know about this painting.

“I will be talking to more key players in the local art scene before I go back home on Tuesday. There is an art historian in New York who knew Hopper and went to his funeral, which was not well attended. I may also be contacting him in the near future.”

Blair also said that a Canadian film company was interested in making a film about the life of Edward Hopper. Some of this could be shot in New York, and some locally in County Down. But the scripting is still at an early stage. Hopper used to move to Cape Cod for the summer holidays where he did this painting.

American actor Steve Martin is the biggest owner of Edward Hopper paintings in the world and there is word he may be involved in this production.

High Noon, the full-sized finished work, is hanging in a private gallery in Dayton, Ohio, but is available to be viewed by the public.

Following the death of Edward Hopper, the value of his paintings have risen sharply and there are now very investable. Signed sketches alone are worth around $15,000. When he died, his collection of over hundreds of paintings was dispersed across galleries in New York, mainly to the Whitney Museum of American Art and it is possible the the study was bought by a County Down person who either sent it back home or took it with him or her. He/she may even have been an art lover or painter or sent it to someone who was.

Blair Mooney said: “I will continue my quest to fill the gaps in the history of the painting. So, if you have key information to help further authenticate the painting, please contact me, especially if you are in the Downpatrick area. There is a sizable reward of up to $5000 for  the right information.”

Contact: Denvir’s Hotel in Downpatrick

or on email at:


Update: 1020pm Sunday 17 may 2015

Down News eventually made contact with Darren Rooney who sold the painting to the Canadian syndicate in 2007. He said that be believed the painting likely “came either from Portabello in London or Newark antique fair near Nottingham and was purchased with no provenance or history unfortunately.”

The mystery of the source of the painting is still unsolved – and the reward is still unclaimed !

[caption id="attachment_56623" align="aligncenter" width="540"]The study of High Noon. The study of High Noon.[/caption]    ]]>