Richard Koppe

American, 1916 - 1973


Born in St. Paul, Minnesota, Richard Koppe studied at the St. Paul School of Art with artists Cameron Booth, LeRoy Turner and Nicolai Cikovsky. In 1937, Koppe moved to Chicago and continued his studies at the Institute of Design (ID) with the noted Bauhaus masters Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Gyorgy Kepes and Alexander Archipenko. He became an instructor at the Institute of Design in 1946 and remained an Associate Professor at the ID until 1963.

At the ID, Richard Koppe’s work in painting, sculpture and drawing is unified by a synthesis of surrealism and abstraction. He skillfully employed a precise use of line that both defines and deconstructs his abstract compositions. Even today, his work from the 1940s and 1950s is timely, while firmly embracing the aesthetic sensibilities of the mid-Twentieth Century.

Koppe exhibited widely during his lifetime. He gained international acclaim for his work shown at the prestigious annual museum exhibitions of the Whitney Museum of American Art, the National Academy in New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh, the Pennsylvania Academy in Philadelphia, the Royal Academy of Art in London, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, among others. Today his work is held in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Illinois State Museum, and the Brooklyn Museum in New York.

  • Koppe 7439

    Untitled (Geometric Forms), 1945
    Gouache on paper
    14 x 11 inches

    Signed and dated Koppe '45 lower right.

    #7439
  • Koppe 2641

    Drawing #130, ca. 1949
    Ink and watercolor on paper
    19 1/2 x 25 1/2 inches

    Signed Koppe center right; numbered 130 on reverse.

    #2641
  • Koppe 6090

    Buttermilk Falls, ca. 1940
    Oil on canvas
    36 x 26 inches

    Signed and titled on label on reverse.

    #6090
    SOLD
  • Koppe 4082

    Drawing #68, ca. 1948
    Ink on paper
    19 1/2 x 25 1/2 inches

    Signed Koppe center right; numbered 68 on reverse.

    #4082
  • Koppe 4083

    Drawing #123, 1948
    Ink on paper
    19 1/2 x 25 1/2 inches

    Signed and dated Koppe '48 lower right; numbered 123 on reverse.

    #4083
  • 4472 koppe 4472

    Drawing #213, 1951
    Wax crayon and ink on paper
    19 1/2 x 25 1/2 inches

    Signed and dated Koppe ‘51 lower right; numbered 213 on reverse.

    #4472
  • 4473 koppe 4473

    Winged Irony (Drawing #214 ), 1952
    Wax crayon and ink on paper
    19 1/2 x 25 1/2 inches

    Signed and dated Koppe 52 lower right; titled and numbered 214 on reverse.

    #4473
  • 6043 koppe 6043

    Untitled (Abstraction), 1951
    Ink and gouache on paper
    25 1/2 x 19 1/2 inches

    Signed and dated Koppe '51 lower right.

    #6043
  • Koppe 8511

    Windblown, 1955
    Ink on paper
    22 x 31 inches

    Signed and dated Koppe ‘55 lower right; titled on reverse.

    #8511
  • 6034 koppe 6034

    Drawing #121, 1948
    Ink on paper
    25 1/2 x 19 1/2 inches

    Signed and dated Koppe '48 lower right; numbered 121 on reverse.

    #6034
  • Koppe 6039

    Drawing #93, ca. 1948
    Ink on paper
    25 1/2 x 19 1/2 inches

    Signed Koppe lower right; numbered 93 on reverse.

    #6039
  • Koppe 2306

    Drawing #116, 1949
    Ink on paper
    19 1/2 x 25 1/2 inches

    Signed and dated Koppe '49 lower center; numbered 116 on reverse.

    #2306
  • Koppe 2643

    Untitled, ca. 1954
    Ink on paper
    19 1/2 x 25 1/2 inches

    Signed Koppe lower right.

    #2643
  • Koppe 2644

    Untitled, 1954
    Ink on paper
    19 1/2 x 25 1/2 inches

    Signed and dated Koppe '54 lower right.

    #2644
  • Koppe 2642

    Untitled, ca. 1954
    Ink on paper
    19 1/2 x 25 1/2 inches

    Signed Koppe lower right.

    #2642
  • Koppe 2635

    Drawing #33, 1949
    Ink on paper
    19 1/2 x 25 1/2 inches

    Signed and dated Koppe ‘49 lower right; numbered 33 on reverse.

    #2635
  • Koppe 4089

    Drawing #119, 1949
    Ink on paper
    19 1/2 x 25 1/2 inches

    Signed and dated Koppe ‘49 lower right; numbered 119 on reverse.

    #4089
  • 4471 koppe 4471

    Drawing #125, ca. 1949
    Ink on paper
    19 1/2 x 25 1/2 inches

    Signed Koppe lower right; numbered 125 on reverse.

    #4471
  • Koppe 4087

    Drawing #099, 1949
    Ink on paper
    19 1/2 x 25 1/2 inches

    Signed and dated Koppe ‘49 upper right; numbered 099 on reverse.

    #4087
  • 6035 koppe 6035

    Drawing #171, ca. 1951
    Watercolor and ink on paper
    25 1/2 x 19 1/2 inches

    Numbered 171 on reverse.

    #6035

Born in St. Paul, Minnesota, Richard Koppe studied at the St. Paul School of Art with artists Cameron Booth, LeRoy Turner and Nicolai Cikovsky. In 1937, Koppe moved to Chicago and continued his studies at the Institute of Design (ID) with the noted Bauhaus masters Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Gyorgy Kepes and Alexander Archipenko. He became an instructor at the Institute of Design in 1946 and remained an Associate Professor at the ID until 1963.

At the ID, Richard Koppe’s work in painting, sculpture and drawing is unified by a synthesis of surrealism and abstraction. He skillfully employed a precise use of line that both defines and deconstructs his abstract compositions. Even today, his work from the 1940s and 1950s is timely, while firmly embracing the aesthetic sensibilities of the mid-Twentieth Century.

Koppe exhibited widely during his lifetime. He gained international acclaim for his work shown at the prestigious annual museum exhibitions of the Whitney Museum of American Art, the National Academy in New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh, the Pennsylvania Academy in Philadelphia, the Royal Academy of Art in London, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, among others. Today his work is held in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Illinois State Museum, and the Brooklyn Museum in New York.

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