6 Bridge Street Lambertville, NJ 08530 United States 609.397.7700
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Village Hillside

Period 1920-1949
Materials Oil on canvas
W. 40 in; H. 38 in;
W. 101.6 cm; H. 96.52 cm;
Creation Date 1930
Description Signed on lower right. Complemented by a hand carved and gilt frame.

Fern Isabel Kuns Coppedge (1883 - 1951)

Born Fern Kuns, near Decature, Illinois, Fern grew up on her family’s farm. A picturesque setting of barns, streams, meadows and woods. Memories of her childhood (as well as family outings in the snow) would find expression in Coppedge’s paintings of Lumberville and New Hope. Attending the University of Kansas she met Robert H. Coppedge, a biology professor. The couple married in 1910 and after that Mr. Coppedge mysteriously disappeared from all discussion of the artist. Fern Coppedge studied at the Art Students League with William Merritt Chase in New York and at the Arts Student League Summer School under the instruction of John F. Carlson in Woodstock. She then moved to Philadelphia, where he studied with Daniel Garber at the Pennsylvania Academy. She also attended the Philadelphia School of Design for Women where she studied with Henry B. Snell. She first visited the New Hope area in 1917 and settled in nearby Lumberville, Pennsylvania in 1920. Lumberville was also home to Daniel Garber, Clarence Johnson and William Francis Taylor.

Coppedge was mainly a plein air painter and many of her winter scenes were painted on site or from her car with the back seat removed. It was said by a local art critic for The New Hope magazine of November, 1933 “We remember seeing Mrs. Coppedge trudging through the deep snow wrapped in a bearskin coat, her sketching materials slung over her shoulder, her blue eyes sparkling with the joy of life.”

Coppedge divided her time between her home named “Boxwood Studio” in Lumberville, Pennsylvania, her studio in Gloucester where she often spent summers, and studio in Philadelphia which she used during exhibitions. She joined The Philadelphia Ten in 1922 and exhibited regularly with them through 1935. In the summer of 1925, Coppedge traveled abroad to paint in Italy. Upon her return from Italy, she exhibited with The Philadelphia Ten in 1926 and among the shows most popular works were Coppedges paintings of the Arno River in Florence.

Coppedge has become the most well-known woman in connection with the Pennsylvania Impressionists. She has of late been labeled a colorist, crossing impressionism with modernism. Her bold and unorthodox use of bright, vibrant colors, combined with a rich impasto and sophisticated but primitive technique, afford her paintings an innate sense of quality and charm proven to be extremely popular among both critics and collectors alike.

Sources: New Hope for American Art by James M. Alterman
Sunday Times Advertiser, Trenton, N.J. Oct. 16, 1949
-Sunday Times Advertiser, Trenton, N.J., March 30, 1930
-Jim’s of Lambertville Archives, 2005
-The New Hope, Nov. 1933
Styles / Movements Impressionism, New Hope School
Incollect Reference Number 191732
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