(Nov. 1, 1909-July 2, 1984). The artist regarded as the dean of Indiana watercolorists, Floyd D. Hopper was born in Martin County. He attended the herron school of art in Indianapolis from 1929 to 1933, studying under Hoosier Group artists william forsyth, and clifton wheeler, watercolorist paul hadley, and artist and Herron director Donald Mattison.

Hopper’s art of the 1930s and early 1940s strongly resembles the American Scene style of painting practiced by midwestern regionalists Thomas Hart Benton (Missouri), John Steuart Curry (Kansas), and Grant Wood (Iowa). Through such works as Thirteenth And Roosevelt (1935), A Summer Rain (1936), Red Farm (1937), Our Alley (1939), Railroad Yard (1939), and Wash Day (1940), Hopper depicted Indiana during the latter years of the Great Depression in his oils, watercolors, and lithographs.

When the United States became involved in World War II, Hopper exchanged his paintbrushes for industrial tooling that would aid the war effort. In 1941, he joined the Indianapolis steel fabricator Hetherington and Berner and later helped found the Noblesville Casting Company. In 1958, he returned full time to the easel to paint, teach, and exhibit.

During this second artistic phase, Hopper specialized in the medium of watercolor—both painting and teaching. For over 20 years, he taught watercolor classes at the Indianapolis Art League and at his Cherry Hill Studio in Noblesville. His watercolor paintings were annual prize winners at the Hoosier Salon, Indiana Artists Club, and Indiana State Fair art shows. Through his teaching and painting, Hopper influenced two decades of Indiana watercolorists. He was elected to membership in the Indiana Academy in 1979 and in 1987 was posthumously recognized as a major Indiana artist by a concurrent resolution of the Indiana General Assembly.

Hopper’s work can be found in many private collections and in such public institutions as the Indianapolis Museum Of Art, the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Indiana University, Franklin College, DePauw University, Ball State University, and the Brown County Art Guild.

Revised July 2021
Visual Arts

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