Elsie Dinsmore Popkin

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Cornell Chronicle - January 20, 2005 - Obituary

Elsie Dinsmore Popkin, a much-admired pastel artist and active alumna, died Jan. 8 in Winston-Salem, N.C. She was 67.

Popkin received her B.F.A. in painting at Cornell in 1958. Her works are in the collections of the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell as well as in many public and private collections.

Her pastel paintings of views from the windows of the Johnson Museum were the focus of her show at the Johnson in June 2003, during her 45th reunion, and she was the subject of a film screened then at Cornell and viewable at http://ifup.cit.cornell.edu/popkin/. Other works of hers can be seen on campus in the lobby of the Statler Hotel and the office of the dean at the Johnson Graduate School of Management.

Popkin worked in pastels from the time she was a teenager. She turned from figurative to primarily landscape imagery 20 years ago, painting in situ to capture her response to the intensity of color and light of particular places.

In recent years she spent several weeks each summer on Appledore Island, in the Gulf of Maine off the coast of Portsmouth, N.H., where Cornell jointly operates Shoals Marine Laboratory (SML) with the University of New Hampshire. There she taught workshops in pastel painting and made her own paintings of poet Celia Thaxter's garden and the island's rocky shores, in homage to works by an earlier island visitor, American impressionist painter Childe Hassam.

"Elsie enthralled so many with her sparkle, dedication to painting and interest in training others," said James Morin, Cornell professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and former SML director.

In 1975 Popkin became the first artist-in-residence at Reynolda House, Museum of American Art, in Winston-Salem, N.C., and was named Winston-Salem Artist of the Year in 1989. She was a fellow at Yaddo artists' retreat and at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. In June 2002 she was an artist-in-residence at Crater Lake National Park.

Popkin's pastel paintings have been featured in such art books as Collin's Artist's Manual. She is listed in Who's Who in American Art and Who's Who of American Women. Her work is represented at Uptown Gallery, New York City; Christa Faut Gallery, Cornelius, N.C.; and Artworks Gallery, Winston-Salem, N.C.

At Cornell, Popkin served several terms on the University Council and was a member of its Committee on the Arts. From 1975 to 1980, she was a member of the College of Architecture, Art and Planning Alumni Advisory Council. She was an active participant for more than 11 years, since 1993, on the President's Council of Cornell Women (PCCW), which plans a memorial service at its spring 2005 meeting on campus.


Elsie Dinsmore Popkin
Jan. 11, 1937 -- Jan. 8, 2005
Elsie Popkin was a renowned artist, an activist, a computer guru (a title she frequently renounced), a friend to everyone she met, and a member of the Board of Directors of Piedmont Communities.

Many first-time users attended training sessions with Elsie – she attended all that she could. She came to ask a specific question, to tell the other participants that the system was easy to use, to be helpful, and to make us all laugh. We will miss her.

Elsie was passionate about almost everything in her life: husband, children, her work as an artist, revitalization of Downtown Winston-Salem, and Truth, Justice and the American Way. She made phone calls, wrote E-mail messages and sent letters to the editors of many publications whenever she heard of something that could be improved or someone who was being treated unfairly. Elsie cared.

The things that will be remembered about Elsie Popkin are her wonderful paintings, her joy of life, her determination to make wherever she was a better place, and her sense of humor.

May we long hear her infectious laugh as we continue her good works.

The Charlotte Observer - Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Elsie Dinsmore Popkin

WINSTON-SALEM - Elsie Dinsmore Popkin, described as one of the most commercially successful artists working in Winston-Salem, has died at the age of 67.Popkin, whose work captured the daffodils at Reynolda Gardens and the azaleas along neighborhood roads in bold, bright strokes, died Saturday of complications from chemotherapy treatment for cancer.

"She had such a sense of beauty -- an extraordinary sense of beauty and joy," said her sister, Anne Dinsmore Kindred. "I wish I could see through her eyes."

Popkin, who primarily painted in pastels, was an exhibiting member at Artworks Gallery in Winston-Salem. The Uptown Gallery in New York City represented her.

She grew up in Reading, Pa., and liked to say that she was born a Republican Episcopalian who became a liberal New York Jew, said her husband, Mark Popkin.

"She always had a cause," he said. "She was a dynamic, vital person who was interested in current events and politics. She was involved in all of life." -- ASSOCIATED PRESS

Winston-Salem Journal - January 11, 2005

Elsie Dinsmore Popkin

Elsie Dinsmore Popkin, 67, of Winston-Salem died Saturday, January 8, 2005. A celebration of life service will be conducted at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 13, at Temple Emanuel on Oakwood Drive in Winston-Salem. Cremation Services of Winston-Salem is in charge of the arrangements.