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Charles S. Hopkinson

1869-1962

Hopkinson was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He drew cartoons for the Harvard Lampoon during his collegiate years at Harvard and spent one summer under the tutelage of a local landscape artist, Frederick W. Kost. After college graduation in 1891, Hopkinson studied at the Art Students’ League in New York, where his first paintings were exhibited at the National Academy of Design, and then continued his studies at the Académie Julian in Paris.

In 1897, Hopkinson returned to Cambridge and lived with his parents while he developed painting technique and worked on portraits of family and friends. He then received his first portrait commission to paint poet and author E.E. Cummings, who was then an infant. After travels to Spain and France, he set up a studio in Boston. In 1906, he was elected a member of the Society of American Artists, which merged into the National Academy of Design. He received additional commissions from the interest of his friends and neighbors, as well as from his Harvard connections, including a series of forty-five portraits of Harvard presidents.

He exhibited regularly in the national annuals and at several Boston and New York galleries. Instead of allying himself with the local established painters, Hopkinson showed his work with the "Boston Five," a group of young watercolorists, although he continued to paint in oil for an elite clientele.

Between the years of 1920 and 1950, Hopkinson went on to complete over 350 commissioned portraits, including those of George Eastman, founder and president of Eastman Kodak Co.; Oliver Wendell Holmes, associate justice of the Supreme Court; and former U.S. President Calvin Coolidge. In his later years, he helped found the Boston Society of Independent Artists, and was elected to the National Institute of Arts and Letters, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

His work is displayed in many museums including the Art Institute of Chicago, the Brooklyn Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and the National Gallery of Art in Washington.

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