The Baltimore sculptor and painter who created works for local schools had a second career as a real estate agent
Fernanda Zopf, an artist who created sculptures for Baltimore schools and exhibited her paintings at galleries, died of congestive heart failure Sept. 5 at University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center.
The former Tuscany-Canterbury resident was 94.
Born Fernanda Albi in Teramo, Italy, she earned a bachelor’s degree at the University of Naples. She studied painting in Rome, portraiture in Germany and had three years of painting study in Canada.
She met her future husband, Oskar Franz “Frank” Zopf, who was then serving in the German army, during an army officers’ party during World War II.
The couple married in Heidelberg and later lived in Fontainebleau, France. They decided to leave Europe and moved to Toronto in 1951.
“After three years in Canada, they moved to Baltimore, where they would remain and become woven into the fabric of the city,” said her daughter, Karen C. Zopf, a Towson resident. “They lived near Hopkins and enjoyed entertaining in the Tuscany-Canterbury neighborhood.”
In1964, Mrs. Zopf earned a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from the Maryland Institute College of Art, where she was awarded a Reinhart Fellowship and trained as a sculptor.
She later received a master’s degree at MICA and another master’s in art history from the Johns Hopkins University.
Mrs. Zopf set up studios in her home’s basement and garage and worked alongside Liz Whitney Quisgard, a fellow Reinhart Fellowship awardee.
Mrs. Zopf created abstract sculptures for Guilford, William Pinderhughes and Charles Carroll elementary schools in the 1970s.
Her sculptures and paintings were exhibited at the Baltimore Museum of Art, MICA, Johns Hopkins, the Fells Point Gallery, the Jewish Community Center, Harborplace and the Village of Cross Keys.
“She defined her work as conceptual realism, and she liked to convey a world of harmony, balance and space,” said her daughter, adding that her mother’s canvases attracted numerous buyers.
“She was not wishy-washy,” she said. “Being a mother and a wife was not enough. She had to express her creativity. ... She was a feisty, fearless and fashionable person.”
She said her mother immersed herself in the city.
In the 1970s, Mrs. Zopf began selling residential real estate, and brought groups of women together to buy investment properties.
“My mother had a good nose for investments,” said her daughter. “She was also an eternal student who took and taught classes at the Renaissance Institute.”
City Council member Mary Pat Clarke, a former neighbor of Mrs. Zopf’s, called her a “joyful person who brought friendship and positive vibes into every occasion.” “She was a great friend to my whole family,” Mrs. Clarke said. “In addition to being a wonderful artist, when she went into the real estate business, she helped me when I briefly had a real estate license. But I could never live up to her standards.”
Her husband of nearly 46 years, a retired structural engineer at the old Van Rensselear P. Saxe firm, died in 1993.
Mrs. Zopf regularly visited Europe to visit family members. She also made trips to Costa Rica, Scotland and Turkey. She was also a film buff and enjoyed reading biographies of women.
Mrs. Zopf moved to the Winthrop House apartments after residing on Cloverhill Road for many years. She most recently resided at Mercy Ridge in Timonium.
A life celebration will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday at Peaceful Alternatives Funeral and Cremation Center, 2325 York Road in Timonium.
In addition to her daughter, survivors include a granddaughter, Floret Meredith; and nieces and nephews. Fernanda Zopf “liked to convey a world of harmony, balance and space” in her art, her daughter said.