More Info Hellen West Heller - Important Mural - 10 panels Children at work & play Contact Us
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Only when something is very special, do we handle material that we don't actually own. An undervalued artist by every count and a landmark work with charm.

Important Mural - 10 panels Children at work & play

Hellen West Heller

1872 or 3 - 1955
6 - 30.25 x 40.5
4 - 34 x 30
Frescos on board
Our personal interest in Helen West Heller goes back into Leonard's childhood. He recalled them from his mother's home, and even before he graduated from High School, he had bought a copy of Woodcuts USA. Since then he has collected, occasionally sold or traded her work. Her work is very distinctive, both in her woodblocks and in her paintings.
Heller was very active in the WPA and her most important mural project was for the Neponsit Children's Hospital. It was lost when the hospital wasl demolished during the war years. These are probably studies for that lost mural. She also did mosaic murals for several NYC subway stations that have also since been lost. The Smithsonian has several examples of her work, including a commissioned self portrait.
Take time to read her biography. It's quite a story, ending in a pauper's grave in 1955, a time when almost all her friends and fellow artists were under the microscope of either McCarthy or the House Un-American Activities Committee which tended to label anyone who advocated for the poor, the minorities, or the workers as Communists, the period's Evil Incarnate. She was in good company. LIFE magazine named the 100 most famous Fellow Traveler, a list which included Arthur Miller, Dorothy Parker, Henry W.L. Dana, Adam Clayton Powell Jr., Langston Hughes, Albert Einstein, Mark Van Doren, Leonard Bernstein, Susan B. Anthony II, Norman Mailer, Thomas Mann, Louis Untermeyer, Lillian Hellman, scientists, congressmen, clergy, professors, lawyers ... Helen West Heller was not famoous enough to make the list, but she drew her artistic inspiration from the working class. She sometimes idealized them and other times highlighted the hypocrisy of the world she struggled, as an artist, to make her way in.

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Hellen West Heller
53975 Main Road Southold, NY    P 631-765-8432