Most people, when they walk through a yard sale and see the old paintings sitting off to the side they wouldn’t think twice, but one young man, who wouldn’t give his name, acted differently.
For just $5, he bought an old painting at the county-wide yard sale recently, thinking it would be a nice addition to his apartment over the fireplace. When he got home with it, he glanced at a clear name, initialed just at the bottom of the painting.
On a whim he decided to look up the artist in an attempt to possibly learn more about the man. Sure enough he came to find out that that painting was an original oil done sometime between the 1920s and 1940s by a man named Harry Leonard Lopp.
Lopp was born in 1888 in South Dakota on a cattle ranch. He loved art and the outdoors. He began painting at a young age and hired on with The Hudson Bay Company of Canada as a staff artist. There he exhibited across the country. After that he moved to Montana and spent many years living in Kalispell and Great Falls, though he traveled often to paint while there.
Lopp painted nature scenes throughout the west, as far north as Alaska, and as far south as Colorado and was well known for his paintings of Glacier National Park. Lopp was so well known that he was featured in many art shows across the U.S. and his paintings were collected by numerous well-to-do people such as President Harry Truman and FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover. He was guest to famous art collector George H.S. Rowe in New York, and Glacier National Park geologist Dr. Jim Dyson of Colgate University.
Lopp died in 1974 and during his 50-year career he created some of the west’s most well-known landscape paintings. He was buried in the C.E. Conrad Memorial Cemetery in Kalispell, and his paintings are now featured in the Hockaday Museum of Art.
Lopp painted hundreds of works, some ranging in size from 5 feet by 10 feet, to only a few inches in width. His paintings are worth anywhere from $500 to well over $2,000.
The young man’s painting, the one that he bought at the yard sale, is one of the nicest that has been found in form and beauty.
Not too bad for $5, proving that one never knows what may be found at a garage sale.