W.J. Hopkinson, 1887-1970

Lake Near Haliburton | W.J. Hopkinson

Lake Near Haliburton | W.J. Hopkinson

Lake Near Haliburton, circa 1960s
Oil on canvas panel
Size: 20 x 24 inches
Price: $1,100

Details: Signed lower left. Personal inscription on verso by artist Murray McCheyne Stewart
Provenance: Hopkinson Family collection.
Condition: Excellent.

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Spring Break-Up | W.J. Hopkinson

Spring Break-Up | W.J. Hopkinson

Oil on Artist Panel
Size: 10" x 12"
Price: SOLD


Details: Plein air palette knife style oil painting. Signed lower left. Label on verso reads: "Spring Break-up, Wren Lake, Haliburton." Unframed.
Provenance: Private Collection. Acquired from W.J. Hopkinson Estate.

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Sunwapta River, Alberta | W.J. Hopkinson

Sunwapta River, Alberta | W.J. Hopkinson

Oil on Masonite
Size: 16" x 20"
Price: SOLD

Details: Plein air oil painting. Unframed. Signed lower right. Titled "Sunwapta River, Alberta, 1968" on verso.
Provenance: Private Collection

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W.J. Hopkinson is best known for his landscapes and marine scenes but, for some reason, never achieved the same status as other artists of his generation.

 

Biography

Born in London, England, William John Hopkinson studied there under Walter White, R.A., but was mostly self taught.

W.J. Hopkinson came to Canada in 1912 and exhibited with the Royal Canadian Academy and the Ontario Society of Artists. Although his talent was well respected and he went on painting trips with many leading painters, W.J. Hopkinson never achieved the same level of acclaim.

W.J. Hopkinson worked mainly in oils, with landscapes of forests, winter scenes and docked boats, but many pencil sketches have also survived. He painted from the 1930s until 1970, most often in the Aurora to Haliburton area, but also on trips to the East Coast and to Massachusetts. He also made one trip back to his home country of England, but he only painted a handful of scenes in London.

Plein Air Paintings

W.J. Hopkinson was known to travel into the dense bush and forests in the Haliburton area and paint plein air oil paintings on panels using palette knives, laying on thick layers of oil paint. This technique was suited to portraying the ruggedness of the landscape around him, showing fallen trees, forests and lakes under dramatically coloured skies.

There are few examples of W.J. Hopkinson painting on canvas. Works from the early part of his career, such as the 1940s, are also rare. He painted many of these with a brush, and the size of the panels tend to be smaller.

W.J. Hopkinson also painted a few florals, usually on a fairly large scale, as a favour to his wife.

Active in Newmarket Area

W.J. Hopkinson taught at the St. Croix School of Art, New Brunswick, and at several centres in Ontario. W.J. Hopkinson held his first one-man show of paintings at the Main Branch of The North York Public Library in the autumn of 1966 and subsequently at other library branches of North York that year.

The artist was most active in art circles in the Newmarket and Aurora area, northwest of Toronto. W.J. Hopkinson was a member of the Newmarket Art Club, the Willowdale Group of Artists and the Society of Co-operative Artists, Toronto.

Sources:  Interview with family. A Dictionary of Canadian Artists, volumes 1-8 by Colin S. MacDonald, and volume 9 (online only), by Anne Newlands and Judith Parker. National Gallery of Canada, Artists in Canada database.

To see more art by W.J. Hopkinson, visit the artist website: wjhopkinson.ca