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James Roy Hopkins

 (1877 - 1969)
James Roy Hopkins was active/lived in Ohio, Kentucky / France.  James Hopkins is known for figure, portrait and genre painting, educator.

James Roy Hopkins

Biography from the Archives of askART

Biography photo for James Roy Hopkins
Born in Irwin, Ohio, James Hopkins served as Chairman of the Art Department at Ohio State University for 25 years and also served as dean of the Cincinnati Art Academy* for one year. He studied for two years with Frank Duveneck and later enrolled in the Academy Colarossi *in Paris but felt no training there surpassed what he had learned in Cincinnati.

He traveled around the world in 1904 and then lived in Paris until 1914, when he began his teaching career at the Art Academy of Cincinnati (1914-1920). He was known for a series of paintings of the Cumberland Mountain people of eastern Kentucky.

Ran Gallery, Cincinnati, Ohio. Courtesy, Mary Leonhard Ran
Peter Hastings Falk, Editor, Who Was Who in American Art

Biography from The Johnson Collection
James Roy Hopkins was born in the rural farming community of Irwin, Ohio in 1877. His mother painted with watercolors recreationally and encouraged her son's artistic interests. Though he shared his mother's love of art, Hopkins initially entered Ohio State University in1896 to study electrical engineering. However, he soon left and briefly enrolled in the Columbus School of Art before going to the Art Academy of Cincinnati where he studied with Frank Duveneck. In 1900, Hopkins moved to New York City and worked as a medical textbook illustrator. Two years later he made the pilgrimage to the art center of the western world at the time, Paris, France.

While in Paris he improved his craft at the Académie Colarossi. Hopkins embraced Parisian life and socialized with such great artists as Pierre August Renoir, Claude Monet, and Edgar Degas. As a result his art became less detailed with looser brushwork and more emphasis on lighting. In 1904, Hopkins returned to Ohio to marry a fellow classmate from the Art Academy of Cincinnati, Edna Boies, an accomplished printmaker. He soon returned to Paris with his wife and they traveled throughout Europe, Asia, and Northern Africa. In 1914, the outbreak of World War I forced the couple to return to Ohio, where Hopkins accepted a teaching position at the Cincinnati Academy of Art.

While teaching at the Academy, the Hopkins began to spend their summers in the nearby Cumberland Mountains of Kentucky. From 1915 to 1917, the artists set up a studio at an inn and befriended the local mountain people. Perhaps due to his own rural upbringing, James felt a connection to the isolated families and slowly earned their trust. His compassionate portrayals of the Cumberland Falls community make up his most well known series of works. The subjects are shown truthfully with the evidence of their hard lives visible on their faces, but Hopkins was also sure to portray them with respect and dignity.

When his former teacher, Frank Duveneck, passed away in 1919, Hopkins took over his position as head of the Cincinnati Academy of Art. In 1923, he was invited to be the artist in residence at Ohio State University and was offered the position of head of the Art department shortly thereafter. Following Edna's sudden death, Hopkins moved to his childhood farm and continued to teach at the university until 1947. He died in 1969 at the age of ninety-one.

The Johnson Collection, Spartanburg, South Carolina

Biography from Charleston Renaissance Gallery
Born in Irwin, Ohio, but raised in Mechanicsburg, Hopkins studied at the Columbus Art School, and spent two years with Frank Duveneck at the Cincinnati Art Academy.

He worked in New York as an illustrator in the early 1900s, and then spent a year in Paris at the Academy Colorassi. Afterwards he traveled in Japan, China, Ceylon, southern Europe and North Africa with his bride and fellow artist, Edna Bel Boise.

The couple settled in Paris and remained until World War I forced their return to the United States in 1914. Soon after, Hopkins joined the Cincinnati Art Academy faculty. When Duveneck died in 1919, Hopkins took his place as head of the school. (NS)

Biography from Mason County Museum
James Roy Hopkins was born in Irwin, Ohio in 1877. An early influence on Hopkins were the watercolors of his mother Nettie, a self-taught artist and ex-schoolteacher.  Hopkins entered Ohio State University in 1896 to study electrical engineering, but his continuing interest in painting and drawing soon led him to the Columbus Art School and then the Cincinnati Academy of Art, where he studied under the noted painter Frank Duveneck. In 1900 he left for New York, where he worked as an illustrator for two years before leaving for Paris, then the art capital of the world.

Hopkins counted among his friends the painters Pierre August Renoir, Edgar Degas and Claude Monet, and their influence on him led to an artistic change that secured Hopkins' reputation as one of the pre-eminent American Impressionist painters of his time.

In 1904, Hopkins married Edna Boies, an equally talented artist, known for her wood-block prints.  The Hopkins' lived, worked and exhibited in Paris until the outbreak of World War I.  Returning from Europe, Hopkins joined the staff at the Cincinnati Academy of Art before entering the Army as an artillery camouflage instructor.  In 1919 he was appointed head of the Academy and began his reknowned series of paintings of the Cumberland Mountain people.  In 1923 he was invited to be artist in residence at Ohio State University, and soon thereafter was appointed Chairman of the Art Department, where he stayed until retiring in 1947.

Known for his paintings of the female figure, Hopkins was also a printmaker of restrained beauty and an excellent portrait painter.  James Roy Hopkins had a long and distinguished career as an artist and teacher, touching the lives of everyone he came in contact with.

 He died in 1969 at the age of ninety-one on the family farm in Mechanicsburg, Ohio.

Springfield Museum of Art 107 Cliff Park Road Springfield, Ohio 45501 USA

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About  James Roy Hopkins

Born:  1877 - Irwin, Ohio
Died:   1969 - Mechanicsburg, Ohio
Known for:  figure, portrait and genre painting, educator

Essays referring to
James Roy Hopkins

San Francisco Panama-Pacific Exhibition 1915