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Leonard Lopp: Glacier Park Artist
July 29 - October 16, 2004
(above: Leonard Lopp, Reynolds Creek, oil. On loan from the collection of Stephen Johnson)
The Hockaday Museum of Art in Kalispell, Montana is pleased to announce that it will hold a major exhibition of works by Leonard Lopp. The exhibit, entitled Leonard Lopp: Glacier Park Artist, will be on display from July 29 through October 16, 2004. An opening reception will be held Thursday, August 5 from 5:30 to 7:30 pm. (right: Leonard Lopp painting in Glacier National Park)
Harry Leonard Lopp was born May 1, 1888, near Highmore, South Dakota. Lopp was raised on a cattle ranch and attended nearby Canton and Elk Point schools where he showed early signs of artistic talent by drawing everything around him. Later, he studied art under Professor P.J. Rennings at Union College in Lincoln, Nebraska, and privately with Professor John Updyke and Robert Wood. On July 1, 1917, he was married to Margaret Booth of Colorado Springs, Colorado. Together they painted and traveled over much of the United States, Canada and Alaska. During much of the 1920s, Lopp was staff artist for the Hudson Bay Company of Canada and exhibited from Winnipeg to Vancouver.
Following a move to Great Falls, Montana in 1936, Lopp was appointed staff artist for the Glacier Park Hotel Company, a subsidiary of the Great Northern Railway, exhibiting every summer at Many Glacier Hotel at Swiftcurrent Lake and selling his work to Glacier Park visitors until 1941.
National art recognition was achieved in 1941 when Lopp was invited to New York for a one-man show at the exclusive Milch Gallery. During their two-month stay in New York, the Lopps were the guests of art collector George H.S. Rowe and glacier geologist Dr. Jim Dyson of Colgate University and his wife, with whom the Lopps had spent many days hiking on the trails in Glacier National Park.
As his career continued, Lopp had additional shows and won the Premier Award, Fine Arts Department in the Montana State Fair at Great Falls in 1961. His work was in the collections of former President Harry S. Truman, FBI Chief J. Edgar Hoover, national parks photographer John Kabel, the Lions International President, the Conrad National Bank of Kalispell, and the Bank of Idaho at Boise. (right: Leonard Lopp, Many Glacier Valley, oil. On loan from the collection of Robert and Jane Lopp)
As a celebrated artist with many accomplishments, one in particular was very important to Lopp. In a biography of Lopp that will be included in the exhibition catalog, local writer Sue Rolfing writes that: "As an artist Leonard was a modest man, content to let his work, his wife, and the reporters attest to his talent. He was however, most proud of one thing: the great honor of having been found worthy of restoring the works of Charles M. Russell for both the Russell Memorial Gallery and the Elks Club in Great Falls."
Lopp passed away in Kalispell in 1974. Over his 50-year career, Lopp produced hundreds of paintings and is today best known for his landscapes of Glacier National Park. His passion for the beauty of Glacier Park and his ability to record it on canvas has secured him a permanent position as one of the great artists of Montana and the West.
In the Hockaday Museum's exhibition, there will be over 40 pieces ranging in size from as large as 5 feet by 10 feet to as small as 4 inches by 12 inches. The works will be on loan from the collections of Robert Lopp, Stephen Johnson, James C. Wheat III, and others. Additionally, three paintings from the Museum's Permanent Collection will be part of the exhibition. (right: Leonard Lopp, Many Glacier Valley, oil. On loan from the collection of Robert and Jane Lopp)
Two of the most spectacular pieces in the exhibit come from the collection of Leonard Lopp's son Robert Lopp who resides in Kalispell. One painting is a sunset scene of a cowboy on horseback engaged in a cattle round-up and the other is a beautiful, evening tipi scene. The largest piece in the exhibit at 5 feet by 10 feet is an image of a wagon train with oxen coming toward the viewer. The painting has a low horizon line, which combined with the large size and scale of the subjects, makes it remarkable. A full color catalog illustrating the exhibit and providing a detailed biography of Leonard Lopp will be available for purchase when the exhibit opens.
(above: Leonard Lopp, Sunrise, oil. On loan from the collection of Robert and Jane Lopp)
Editor's note: RL readers may also enjoy images of Glacier National Park from the TFAO photo library.
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