E.O. Hoppé

Rhoda Beasley, 1935
Rhoda Beasley, 1935

Hoppé was, in his own way, a feminist, as his Book of Fair Women (1922) made abundantly clear. To him, the mind was the key to true attractiveness. It was a departure from previous conceptions of beauty, which focused on the shape and balance of physical proportions. For anyone socially aware to produce nudes during this period of profound transition in women’s social values was an inherently charged act. Why, then, did he make them? Certainly there is the reason men have always made pictures of naked women – for the frisson that comes from seeing and transmitting  pictures of the opposite sex in flagrante. And yet, while eroticism is an undeniable element of Hoppé’s nudes, they were not designed merely to titillate. Most are frank in their depiction of the female body, and contain little in the way of coy seduction.

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