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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. Hopkins specialized in genre scenes of beautiful women posed in sunlit rooms or outdoor gardens. He also painted the portraits of fashionable French and American ladies. But the subject that brought him the most acclaim is a series of pictures executed in 1916/1917, when he took a studio in the Cumberland Mountains of Kentucky and painted "pictures along very different lines." These paintings include "A Mountain Courtship", which was awarded the Thomas B. Clark prize at the National Academy of Design in 1920. Other paintings in the series include "Market Day in the Mountains", "A Mountain Preacher", and "The Moonshiner".
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