Frances Anne Hopkins: Hudson’s Bay Company Wife, Voyageurs’ Artist
“Her pictures are the most authentic of any which depict the canoes and voyageurs of the fur-trade.”
C.F.S. Franks, The Canoe and White Water: from Essential to Sport
The British, the French, and the First Nations are all in those canoes together. “The myth of a transnational Canadian identity, which included the three founding peoples and was based on the fur trade… found visual affirmation in the works of an almost-forgotten woman artist. Once unknown, Frances Anne Hopkins now has a firm place in our shared national memory.” Jim Burant, “Frances Anne Hopkins, Making Memory and the Myth of Canadian Identity,” 2008.
On the southern banks of the old canoe routes in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, the voyageur is an influential folk hero from the time before state, provincial, and national borders when we were all part of a land known as the Northwest. Frances Anne Hopkins’ paintings are cherished representations of voyageur life.
An “element of mystery surrounds so much of this artist’s production and biography” wrote Robert Stacey. Janet Clark agreed: “While her historical images have become quite well-known, Frances Anne Hopkins, the artist, has been rendered virtually anonymous.” Clark and Stacey were co-curators of “Frances Anne Hopkins, 1838[sic]-1919, Canadian Scenery” at the Thunder Bay Art Gallery, 1990.
Reasons for the mystery and near-anonymity are uncovered in this first full-length biography of Frances Anne Hopkins.
About the Author
MaryEllen Weller-Smith taught French and Spanish in Minnesota for over thirty years. She has a special interest in French-Canadian history and culture in this region. M.A., University of Minnesota, awarded a Fulbright Teacher Exchange to St Denis, France, and recipient of a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Seminar at the Newberry Library in Chicago, she is a founding member of the French-American Heritage Foundation of Minnesota. Weller-Smith has spoken about Frances Anne Hopkins at conferences of the Association for Canadian Studies in the US (ACSUS) and the Canadian Women Artists History Initiative (CWAHI).
Frances Anne Hopkins: Hudson’s Bay Company Wife, Voyageur’s Artist
Author: MaryEllen Weller-Smith
Publisher: Jackpine Books, LLC, Madison, Wisconsin, USA
Publication Date: March 2022
U.S. Copyright 2022 and filed with the Library of Congress.