Ellen S. Dunlap (1858-1939) had been born in New York City, the daughter of George L. and Ellen (Pond) Dunlap, and married Amos Lawrence Hopkins who predeceased her. She was a landscape artist who exhibited at M. Knoedler & Co., New York between April 11, 1910 and April 16, 1910, at which time Muller-Ury may have met her. Her pictures bore such titles as The Month of May (1), October in New Jersey (4), and Le Moulin, Finisterre (10).
She founded the New York School of Applied Design for Women in 1892 at 200 West 23rd Street, and around 1909, having raised $215,000 for the purpose, used this capital to erect a building on 30th Street at the corner of Lexington Avenue designed by Harvey Wiley Corbett. Joseph Duveen donated $1000 to the School in order to help pay off its mortgage in 1922 (see American Art News, Vol. 20, N0. 16, January 28, 1922, p.3). Muller-Ury may have read in the newspapers in 1936 that she was awarded the Michael Friedsam Gold Medal, and offered to paint her. He wrote in his diary on May 20, 1936: ‘…I visited the School of Applied Design which Mrs. Dunlap Hopkins manages and I saw many acquaintances and was enthusiastic about the great and good work that all of these people are doing for the business.’ She had previously been painted by Wilhelm Funk earlier in the century.
In 1913 she lived at 127 East 29th Street, New York. In 1938 she and a Miss Ellen J. Rand lived at 121, Madison Avenue. The school has been merged with other colleges and the premises sold, but is listed as a New York landmark.
The duotone photograph in the artist’s papers bears on the verso the stamp of photographer Peter A. Juley & Son, New York.