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 Milton W. Hopkins  (1789 - 1844)

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Lived/Active: New York/Connecticut/Ohio      Known for: full-length naive portrait-children

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Ad Code: 3
Milton W Hopkins
from Auction House Records.
Portrait of Virginia Ada Wright
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Milton W. Hopkins was born in Harwinton, Connecticut. In 1802 he moved with his family to Pompey Hill, New York. After the death of his first wife, Hopkins remarried in 1817 and shortly thereafter relocated to Evans Mills, New York. He painted in the Watertown, New York area and in the Erie Canal towns of western New York State in the 1820s, moving with his family to one of these towns, Albion, in 1823.

Hopkins' advertisements indicate that he worked as an ornamental painter, portraitist, and art instructor. He is believed to have taught portrait painting to the folk painter Noah North (1809-1880). In the late 1830s, Hopkins and North moved west to Ohio City (Cleveland), Columbus, and Cincinnati, Ohio, perhaps seeking portrait commissions from sitters who shared Hopkins' progressive views on temperance, abolition, and anti-Masonry. Hopkins' studio was located on High Street in Columbus, across from the Ohio State House; he died of pneumonia in Williamsburg, Ohio in 1844.

Hopkins' portrait style relates closely to that of Ammi Phillips (1788-1865), with whom he may have been acquainted early in his career. Phillips and Hopkins, born one year apart, came from adjacent towns in Litchfield, Connecticut; their respective parents were born in Colebrook, Connecticut. They both worked in the nearby towns of upstate New York, and thus it is indeed conceivable that they knew one another.

Hopkins frequently painted his subjects with clearly defined facial features, prominent ears, highlighted pupils and square, blunt fingernails, against a muted brown background. Both Hopkins and North excelled at painting full-length likenesses of children.


Excerpted and condensed from Jacquelyn Oak, et. al., "Face to Face: M.W. Hopkins and Noah North", Museum of Our National Heritage, Lexington, Mass., 1988, pp. 39-55, 11; Paul S. D'Ambrosio and Charlotte Emans, "Folk Art's Many Faces: Portraits in the New York State Historical Association", Cooperstown, 1987, pp. 99-102.
Retrieved from Sotheby's New York

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