George Cope

(American, 1855 - 1929)

George Cope was born near West Chester, Pennsylvania, the son of Quaker parents. He taught himself to draw and briefly took painting lessons from the German immigrant artist Herman Herzog (1831–1932). Cope traveled West during the late 1870s, where he painted landscapes and Indian subjects. He moved to Philadelphia in 1881 and specialized in painting still-life subjects. Cope returned to West Chester in 1883 and remained there for the rest of his life, earning a living as an art teacher and restorer. During the late 1880s he began to paint trompe l’oeil subjects—usually representing hunting gear or fishing tackle—that reflect the influence of the Philadelphia painter William Michael Harnett (1848–1892). Cope was probably attracted to these subjects because he was an avid hunter and outdoorsman. Reference: Joan H. Gorman and Gertrude Grace Sill, George Cope, 1855–1929 [exh. cat. Brandywine River Museum] (Chadds Ford, PA, 1978). 1978).