Referred to by Cecil Beaton as "The Master", Emil Otto Hoppé (1878-1972) was one of the most important art and documentary photographers of the modern era whose artistic success, at the time, rivaled those of his peers, Alfred Stieglitz (1864-1946), Edward Steichen (1879-1973) and Walker Evans (1903-1975).
Known as E. O. Hoppé, he was one of the most renowned portrait photographers of his day, primarily active from 1907-1945. It is thought that he is not as well-known as his peers because in 1954 he sold decades of his work to the London picture agency, The Mansell Collection, where it was virtually inaccessible to curators and photo-historians, having been inter-filed among millions of other pictures organized by subject matter, not photographer. In the mid 1990s Curatorial Assistance, Inc. began the rescue of his work from obscurity by organizing, cataloguing and preserving some the best Hoppé images from the collection prior to its sale to Time Incorporated in 1997.
Hoppé was born to a wealthy family in Munich on April 14, 1878 and moved to London in 1902 to work for Deutsche Bank where he continued photography as a hobby. In 1903 he was admitted as a member of the Royal Photographic Society and became associated with the Linked Ring Brotherhood and fellow members Alvin Langdon Coburn and Henry Peach Robinson. He opened his first studio in 1907 and began decades of photographing many luminaries of the day. In the 20's he made trips through America, Italy, Britain, Ireland, Cuba, Jamaica, the West Indies, India, Ceylon (Sri Lanka), Australia and New Zealand. At the outbreak of the World War I in 1939, he returned to London and focused on the Dorien Leigh Photo Agency were his work and the work of those he represented such as Paul Wolff and Martin Munkasci was sold to magazines such as Lilliput, Picture Post and Weekly Illustrated.
Hoppé published more than 20 book including, 'Studies from the Russian Ballet' 1913, "The Book of Fair Women" 1921, Taken from Life' 1922, "Picturesque Great Britain" 1926, "Romantic Amerika" 1927, "The Fifth Continent"1931, "A Camera on Unknown London" 1936, "Rural London" 1951, and an autobiography "One Hundred Thousand Exposures", published in 1945.