E. O. Hoppé

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Hoppé in 1972

Emil Otto Hoppé (14 April 1878 – 9 December 1972) was a German-born British portrait, travel, and topographic photographer active between 1907 and 1945. Born into a wealthy family in Munich, he moved to London in 1900 originally to train as a financier, but took up photography and rapidly achieved great success.

He was "the only son of a prominent banker, and was educated in the finest schools of Munich, Paris and Vienna. On leaving school he served apprenticeships in German banks for ten years, before accepting a position with the Shanghai Banking Corporation. He never arrived in China. The first leg of his journey took him to England where he met an old school friend. Hoppé married his [old school friend's] sister, Marion Bliersbach and stayed in London. While working for the Deutsche Bank, he was becoming increasingly enamoured with photography, and, in 1907, jettisoned his commercial career and opened a portrait studio. Within a few years E.O. Hoppé was the undisputed leader of pictorial portraiture in Europe. To say that someone has a "household name" has become a cliché, yet in Hoppé's case the phrase is apt. Rarely in the history of the medium has a photographer been so famous in his own lifetime among the general public. He was as famous as his sitters. It is difficult to think of a prominent name in the fields of politics, art, literature, and the theatre who did not pose for his camera."[1]

Although Hoppé was one of the most important photographic artists of his era and highly celebrated in his time, in 1954, at the age of 76, he sold his body of photographic work to a commercial London picture archive, the Mansell Collection. In the collection it was filed by subject in with millions of other stock pictures and no longer accessible by author. Most all of Hoppé's photographic work—that which gained him the reputation as Britain's most influential international photographer between 1907 and 1939—was accidentally obscured from photo-historians and from photo-history itself. It remained there for over thirty years after Hoppé's death, and was not fully accessible to the public until the collection closed down and was acquired by new owners in America.

In 1994 photographic art curator Graham Howe retrieved Hoppé's photographic work from the picture library and rejoined it with the Hoppé family archive of photographs and biographical documents, reconstituting for the first time since 1954 the complete E.O. Hoppé Collection. After many years of cataloguing, conservation, and research, the rediscovery of E.O. Hoppé's extraordinary output can now be seen for the first time in over sixty years.

Work[edit]

Portraits and Typologies[edit]

Blue plaque outside the house at 7 Cromwell Place, Kensington, London where Hoppe once lived from 1913

In his life, Hoppé's reputation drew to him many important British and North American personalities in politics, literature, and the arts. In the era before the first World War, Hoppé photographed many leading literary subjects and figures from the art world such as Henry James, Rudyard Kipling, John Masefield, Léon Bakst, Anna Pavlova, Tamara Karsavina and other dancers of the Ballets Russes, Violet Hunt, Richard Strauss, Jacob Epstein and William Nicholson[disambiguation needed], some of whom were included in his 1913 exhibition. In the early 1920s he was invited to photograph, Queen Mary, King George, and members of the Royal family. Other subjects of the 1920s included Albert Einstein, Benito Mussolini, Robert Frost, Aldous Huxley, George Bernard Shaw and A.A. Milne. In the 1930s Hoppé photographed a number of dancers at the Vic-Wells company including Margot Fonteyn, Ninette de Valois, Hermione Darnborough and Beatrice Appleyard.

Working from a studio first in London's Baron's Court at 10 Margravine Gardens (1907–10), he moved in 1911 to a Baker Street studio. In 1913 he took on a lease of 7 Cromwell Place, occupying all thirty-three rooms of the previous home of Sir John Everett Millais, which later (from 1937) was used by dance photographer Gordon Anthony and subsequently Francis Bacon. Hoppé also made portraits of the street types of London: English cleaners, maids, and street vendors were photographed both in his studio and on the street. He continued this practice of capturing ordinary working men and women throughout his career as he travelled throughout the world.

Travel and Landscape[edit]

By 1919 Hoppé had begun to travel the world in search of new subjects and landscapes. His journeys brought him to Africa, Germany, Poland, Romania, Czechoslovakia, the United States, Cuba, Jamaica and the West Indies, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaya, India and Ceylon, and the resulting photographs were published in a number of books.

Publications[edit]

  • Studies from the Russian Ballet by E.O. Hoppé and (Auguste) Bert, (London: Fine Art Society, 1913)
  • Tableaux of Angels: after the Great Masters, British Women's Hospital Appeal in aid of the Nation's Fund for Nurses, Annotations on the original pictures by Sir Claude Phillips, with 15 Camera Studies by E.O. Hoppé (London, 1917)
  • The Book of Fair Women, (New York: Knopf, 1922) and (London: Jonathan Cape, 1922)
  • Taken From Life, text by John Davys Beresford and seven photogravure plates by E.O. Hoppé, (London: W. Collins Sons & Co., Ltd., 1922)
  • Behind the Machine: An Impression by Joseph Thorp, with Ten Studies by E.O. Hoppé, (London: Oriel Press, 1922) Produced for the St. James's Advertising Service.
  • Gods of Modern Grub Street: Impressions of Contemporary Authors By Arthur St. John Adcock, with 32 portraits by E.O. Hoppé (London: Sampson Low, Marston and Co., 1923)
  • In Gipsy Camp and Royal Palace. Wanderings in Rumania, Written and illustrated by E.O. Hoppé, preface by the Queen of Rumania (London: Methuen and Co., Ltd., 1924)
  • To Rome on a Sunbeam: With Camera Studies by E.O. Hoppé (Wolverhampton: Sunbeam Motor Car Company Ltd., 1924)
  • A Collection of Photographic Masterpieces by E.O. Hoppé, English/Japanese, (Tokyo: Ausstellungskatalog, 1925)
  • London Types: Taken from Life, text by W. Pett Ridge, (London: Methuen and Co., Ltd., 1926)
  • Forty London Statues and Public Monuments by Tancred Borenius with special photographs by E.O. Hoppé, (London: Methuen & Co., Ltd., 1926)
  • Picturesque Great Britain: The Architecture and the Landscape, Introduction by Charles F.G. Masterman (New York: Brentano's Publishers, 1926 and Benn, London,1927) and England (Berlin: Verlag Ernst Wasmuth, 1926),(Orbis Terrarum Series)
  • Fire Under the Andes. A Group of North American Portraits, text by Elizabeth Shepley Sergeant, photographs by E.O. Hoppé (New York: Knopf, 1927)
  • Romantic America: Picturesque United States, (New York: B. Westermann Co., Inc., 1927) and Das Romantische Amerika, (Berlin: Ernst Wasmuth AG., 1927)
  • The Glory that was Grub Street: Impressions of Contemporary Authors by Arthur St. John Adcock, with 32 portraits by E.O. Hoppé, (London: Sampson, Low, Marston & Co, 1928)
  • The Story of the Gipsies by Konrad Bercovici, with 8 plates by E.O. Hoppé, (London: Cape, 1929)
  • Deutsche Arbeit ("German Work") Intro. by Bruno H. Burgel, (Berlin: Ullstein, 1930)
  • The Fifth Continent, (London: Simpkin Marshall Ltd., 1931)
  • Romantik der Kleinstadt (Romantic Towns), (Munich: Verlag F. Bruckmann, 1932)
  • Unterwegs, (In Passing) (Berlin: Ernst Pollak Verlag, 1932)
  • London, written and illustrated by E.O. Hoppé (London: Medici Society (Picture Guide Series), 1932)
  • The Face of Mother India, by Katherine Mayo, (London: Hamish Hamilton, 1935)
  • The Image of London, (London: Chatto & Windus, 1935)
  • A Camera on Unknown London: Sixty Photographs and Descriptive Notes of Curiosities of London to be Seen Today By E.O. Hoppé, (London: J. M. Dent and Sons Ltd., 1936)
  • To Ceylon by Orient Line, (London: Orient Line, ca. 1937)
  • The London of George VI, Written and illustrated by E.O. Hoppé (London: J. M. Dent and Sons Ltd., 1937)
  • Country Days by A. G. Street (taken from his BBC Broadcasts) with 8 photographs by E.O. Hoppé, (London: Faber, 1940)
  • One Hundred Thousand Exposures: The Success of a Photographer, introduction by Cecil Beaton (London/New York: Focal Press, 1945)
  • Rural London in Pictures, (London: Odhams Press Ltd., 1951)
  • Blaue Berge von Jamaica (Blue Mountains of Jamaica), with Karl-Heinz Jaeckel (Berlin, Safari Verlag, 1956)
  • Pirates, Buccaneers and Gentlemen Adventurers by E.O. Hoppé, (New Jersey, Barnes and London: Yoseloff, 1972)
  • Hoppé's London, essay by Mark Haworth-Booth (London: Guiding Light, 2006)
  • E.O. Hoppé's Amerika: Modernist Photographs from the 1920s, essay by Philip Prodger (New York: W.W. Norton, 2007)
  • E.O. Hoppé's Australia, essays by Graham Howe and Erika Esau (New York: W.W. Norton, 2007)
  • E.O. Hoppé: The German Photographs, 1925-1938 (2010)
  • E.O. Hoppé's The English, essay by Philip Prodger (2010)
  • E.O. Hoppé's Indian Subcontinent of the Cusp of Change (2010)
  • E.O. Hoppé: The British Machine, Photographs of Industrial Britain Between the Wars, essay by Philip Prodger (2010)
  • E.O. Hoppé: Diaghilev's Russian Ballet (2010)
  • Hoppé Portraits: Society, Studio and Street, by Phillip Prodger and Terence Pepper, (London: National Portrait Gallery, 2011)

Exhibitions[edit]

  • International Exhibition of Photography, Dresden, 1909
  • Royal Photographic Society, London, 1910
  • Modern Camera Portraits by E.O. Hoppé, Goupil Gallery, London, 1913
  • Studies from the Russian Ballet, Ryder Gallery, Conduit Street, London, 1914
  • Wanamaker's Gallery, New York, 1921
  • Goupil Gallery, London, catalogue introduction by John Galsworthy, 1922
  • Victoria and Albert Museum, International Theatre Exhibition, 1922
  • Photographic Masterpieces by E.O. Hoppé, staged by Asahi Shimbun, Tokyo and Osaka, 1925
  • Dover Gallery, London, 1927
  • 79 Camera Pictures, David Jones Limited, Sydney, 1930
  • A Half Century of Photography, Foyles Art Gallery, London, 1954
  • A Half Century of Photography, Lenbachhaus, Munich, 1954
  • A Half Century of Photography, traveling exhibition by the British Council in India, 1954–56
  • Retrospective, Kodak Gallery, London, 1968
  • Camera Portraits by E.O.Hoppe, catalogue by Terence Pepper, National Portrait Gallery, London, 1978
  • Cities and Industry : Camera Pictures by E.O. Hoppé, edited by Val Williams and Terence Pepper, with an essay by Ian Jeffrey, Impressions Gallery, York, 1978
  • London, Michael Hoppen Gallery, London, 2006
  • Amerika, Bruce Silverstein Gallery, New York, 2007
  • Australia, Customs House, Sydney, 2007
  • Discoveries, Bruce Silverstein Gallery, New York, 2010 [2]
  • Hoppé Portraits: Society, Studio & Street, National Portrait Gallery, London, 2011[3]

Images[edit]

Collections[edit]

Galleries[edit]

  • Michael Hoppen Gallery, London
  • Craig Krull Gallery, Los Angeles
  • Bruce Silverstein Gallery, New York
  • Josef Lebovic Gallery, Sydney

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  • Roland Jaeger: Unterwegs zur Moderne. Die deutschsprachigen Fotobücher von Emil Otto Hoppé; in: Heiting, Manfred, and Roland Jaeger (ed.): Autopsie. Deutschsprachige Fotobuecher 1918 bis 1945. Band 1; Goettingen: Steidl Verlag, 2012, p. 224–247 (about Hoppé's German language photobooks)