HELEN WEST HELLER
Helena (Hellen S) Barnhart
Seasons (self portrait) 1948
wood engraving, image size: 8″ [w] x 10.5″ [h]
Based on portrait photograph by Harrison Knox.
Created for National Academy of Design.
2012, © collection of Scattergood-Moore
This webpage became too long for one page, so I have divided up the narrative into four separate sections plus an introduction and epilogue. At the end of each narrative section there is a timeline of Helen West Heller’s known artworks and exhibitions. Enjoy and let me know what you think.
PRESS ON THESE LINKS:
THE EARLY YEARS
THE CHICAGO YEARS
NEW YORK CITY
NEW YORK CITY
Story stabs conscience
In 1944 and 1949, Mrs Helen West Heller received a prize from the Library of Congress for her distinguished woodcuts, which are also displayed in the Smithsonian Institute and in several big American museums and college collections around the country. She had published her first book of woodcuts in 1928. She was 83 years old when she died – in New York’s Bellevue Hospital. Her body remained unclaimed for ten days while city welfare agencies tried to locate members of her immediate family. She had none. She had been sick and living alone on meager public relief in a run-down section of the city.
The plight of American artists who cannot sell enough works at high enough prices to provide for their old age has seldom been seriously discussed even by the great foundations and institutions concerned with promoting America’s cultural growth. The bitter fate of a recognized American artist who died lonely, sick helpless and penniless, in a county where her works remain cherished should at least serve to stab a conscience here and there and produce not tears, but action.
Biddeford Maine Journal
poems & woodcuts
Helen West Heller
If you know of art works by Helen West Heller
or any biographical information
I’d love to know.