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Dear Seattle Art Museum

Christopher L. Jorgensen
P.O. Box 546
Ames, IA 50010

February 1, 2009

Seattle Art Museum
1300 First Avenue
Seattle, WA 98101-2902

Dear Seattle Art Museum,

I want to thank you for lending your Edward Hopper painting “Chop Suey” to the Des Moines Art Center. My girlfriend adores Hopper, so it was quite a treat to get to see another of his works!

We made a $5 donation while were were there, so I figured I’d go ahead and send you $5 as well (for being so cool).

Seeing “Chop Suey” was enough to make me wish I’d made better choices in life and had become an art thief. I’d sneak in, and in a daring daylight art heist, the painting would be mine! (I’d also take “Automat,” which is my girlfriend’s favorite, and “Study After Velasquez’s Portrait of Pope Innocent X” by Francis Bacon, which is my favorite.)

I’m sure security isn’t as lax there as it looks though, so I’d probably end up in jail if I tried it, so I assure you I won’t! If, by some cosmic chance these paintings do come up missing, don’t look at me! How dumb would I have to be to write a letter like this and then do something like that? I just like to dream. Though you do have to admit the Hoppers would look great in my girlfriend’s living room.

All the best,

Christopher L. Jorgensen


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February 11, 2010

Mr. Christopher L. Jorgensen
P.O. Box 546
Ames, IA 50010

Dear Mr. Jorgensen:

Our membership office shared with me your lovely letter, and I felt I had to write with my personal thank you to you for your enthusiasm.  When we share works of art with other institutions, and they travel other cities, we assume they are reaching an audience, but we never get the kind of response that you have sent.  It is gratifying and touching.

So, it is I who thank you, with the enclosed copy of the Hopper catalogue.  Maybe you already have one, and, if so, then feel free to give this to another Hopper enthusiast.  And, by the way, I understand perfectly your coveting these paintings. I do what I do so that I can vicariously “own” such works myself.

I will be speaking about Hopper in Des Moines very soon—Thursday evening, March 4. Perhaps I will meet you then.  Meanwhile, thank you, once again, for your letter.



Patricia Junker
Ann M. Barwick Curator of American Art




1300 First Avenue
Seattle, WA 98101-2003
P 206.625.8900
F 206.654.3135

Scan of the letter from Patricia Junker of the Seattle Art Museum


Note: Address has been updated to reflect my current P.O. Box.


After being invited by Patricia Junker (the target of my letter) to attend her lecture, “Tables for Ladies: Edward Hopper and the Modern Woman,” I figured how could I not? You had to RSVP to get free tickets and were supposed to have to show ID at the door. My conspiracy filled brain figured this was an elaborate way to have me detained for questioning, but the girlfriend/editor/typist and I passed through without incident or identification.

The lecture was pretty much what you would expect. A smart woman talking about art. Pretty neat to see how things operate behind the scenes at a museum. Also cool to get some history on the artist and his time.

Afterwards, as I was getting the catalog signed, I said, “Some nice lady sent me this.” Patricia immediately said, “You’re the man who sent the letter!” She seemed genuinely excited. We asked if she’d figured out the spoof before replying. She hadn’t. We asked where the letter ended up (I always wonder). The letter made it into her “Hopper file,” and a copy went on to Barney A. Ebsworth, who I figured worked for the FBI, but am told is a trustee and the man who donated the Hopper painting “Chop Suey” (the painting on the cover of the catalog). Patricia also informed me, “You’re famous at the Seattle Art Museum,” which I think is pretty cool as I am guessing the competition is pretty stiff! I mean it’s not like the SAM is some second rate institution like the MOMA!

Anyway, Patricia was a good sport and I feel like we genuinely made her day! Oh, by the way, she’d found our letters on Sting in the Tail’s site while googling her own event. It was a bit surreal to be attending an event all because someone decided to respond to my little missive.

Next time we’re in Seattle I’m going to look up Patricia and this Barney guy. It would be great to do lunch or get a private museum tour. I’m always looking for someone to pick up the tab.

By Christopher L. Jorgensen


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Christopher L. Jorgensen
PO Box 546
Ames, IA 50010

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