Donelson Hoopes: Obituary, Art Historian
Donelson Hoopes, 73, a museum official and art historian who was a leading authority on 19th-century American painting, died Feb. 22 at a hospital in Bangor, Maine, from the effects of a stroke. He lived in Steuben, Maine.
Mr. Hoopes, the author of more than a dozen books, worked at museums across the country and was the curator of exhibitions and collections at the Corcoran Gallery of Art from 1962 until 1964, when the Corcoran was one of the two or three most prominent museums in Washington. He was also a member of the Committee for the Preservation of the White House.
Search Paid Death Notices
To place a death notice call (202) 334-4122 or email email@example.com. Please be sure to include your name, daytime phone number, address, method of payment, name of funeral home/crematory to contact for verification of death.
Search Death Notices:
Death notices are searchable for 90 days. Leave field blank and click "Go" to see full list.
Mr. Hoopes had a particular interest in watercolor painting and coined the term "the American medium" to describe the attraction of U.S. artists to watercolors, particularly in the 19th century. He wrote books on the watercolors of such leading American painters as Winslow Homer, John Singer Sargent and Thomas Eakins.
When he was at the Corcoran, Mr. Hoopes organized a major exhibition, "The Private World of John Singer Sargent," which traveled to three other museums. He also created and wrote the museum's first recorded tour guide.
He spent much of his career moving from one museum to another, with periods of independent scholarship between his curatorial stints. At the peak of his career, he was a dashingly handsome man with a gift for conversation and a manner that reminded some of a character from a Henry James novel. He continued to write and organize exhibitions at museums well into the 1990s.
Donelson Farquhar Hoopes was born in Philadelphia. He attended the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania. He served in the Army from 1953 until 1955.
In his twenties, he was named director of the Portland Museum of Art in Maine and promptly improved its exhibitions, with major shows on Homer and Marsden Hartley. From 1965 until 1969, after his two-year tenure at the Corcoran, Mr. Hoopes was curator of paintings and sculpture at the Brooklyn Museum in New York.
From 1972 until 1975, he was curator of American art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, where he added major works to the collection. During the 1970s, he published two of his most significant books, "The American Impressionists" (1972) and "American Watercolor Painting" (1977).
He served on the Committee for the Preservation of the White House from 1977 until 1982, helping recommend acquisitions for the White House art collection and offering advice on architectural and decorative matters.
As director of the Thomas Cole Foundation from 1983 until 1997, Mr. Hoopes helped spearhead the restoration of the Catskill, N.Y., home of Cole, a major painter in the 19th-century Hudson River School.
Mr. Hoopes retired to Maine in 1997 and led a largely private life, except for weekly forays to the public library to rent movies and read the New York Times. He painted and wrote at his rural home and maintained two antique cars.
comments powered by Disqus
- Nelson Mandela Dead: Icon of Anti-Apartheid Movement Dies at 95
- George H.W. Bush Given Lyndon B. Johnson Foundation Award
- Bruce Springsteen's 'Born To Run' manuscript could fetch $100,000 at NY auction
- Hospital Donates Records of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis to JFK Library
- Australia’s Eureka Flag Finds a New Patch