Helen Heller

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Artist Details

  • Helen
  • Barnhart
  • Helen West Helen West Heller Helen Barnhart
  • Heller
  • Roger Heller (1888-1975); inventor
  • Herbert Warren West; farmer
  • n/a
  • 1872
  • Rushville, Illinois
  • November 19, 1955
  • New York, New York
  • 1892-?: left her abusive husband and went to Chicago, Illinois

    1902-?: New York, New York

    1921-1931: Lincoln Park West, Chicago, Illinois

    1932-?: New York, New York

    Canton, Illinois
  • Chicago, Illinois

    New York, New York

    Rushville, Illinois
  • 1921-1931: Lincoln Park West, Chicago, Illinois
  • Block Printer, Graphic Artist, Illustrator, Linoleum Cut, Lithographer, Mixed Media, Mosaic artist, Painter-Oil, Printmaker, Watercolorist
  • 1902-?: Art Student League, New York, New York
    Ferrer Center Modern School; student of Robert Henri and George Bellows
    St. Louis School of Fine Arts, St. Louis, Missouri
  • Array
  • circa 1920s: Neo-Arlimuso Society, Chicago, Illinois

    Walden Bookshop, Chicago, Illinois [solo; organized by Luneta Cooper]

    October 1922: No-Jury Society of Artists, Marshall Field & Co. galleries, Chicago, Illinois

    1922: Madison Art Association, Madison, Wisconsin

    1923, 1925, 1927, 1928, 1929, 1930: Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois

    1929-1932: Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, New York

    1930s: Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, New York

    1931: Vienna, Austria; watercolors

    1934 or 1935: Salon d'Automne, Paris, France

    December 1934-January 1935: gallery operated by Robert Ulrich Godsoe, New York, New York

    1936: American Artists Congress, New York, New York,

    1942-1946: National Academy of Design, New York, New York

    1942: Artists' Gallery, New York, New York

    1943, 1944, 1945: Library of Congress, Washington D.C.

    1948: Smithsonian Institution, department of graphic art, Washington, D.C. [solo]
  • :  Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois

    Bethany College

    Block Museum of Art, Evanston, Illinois

    Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, San Francisco, California

    Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, Indiana

    Library of Congress

    Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York

    Museum of the National Academy of Design, New York, New York

    National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

    National Museum of American History, Washington, D.C.

    New York Public Library, New York, New York

    Birger Sandzen Memorial Gallery, Lindsborg, Kansas

    Smithsonian Museum of American Art, Washington, D.C.
  • Bulliet, C. J. “Artists of Chicago, Past and Present, No. 16: Helen West Heller.” Chicago Daily News, June 8, 1935. Heller, Helen West. Woodcuts U.S.A. New York: Oxford University Press, 1947. Harms, Ernest. “Dark to Light: An Appreciation of the Life Work of Helen West Heller, 1872–1955.” American Artist 21, no. 9 (November 1957), 30–34, 67–68. Harms, Ernst. “Helen West Heller—The Woodcutter.” Print Collector’s Quarterly, 29, no. 2 (April 1942), 251–71. Stanfel, Larry. The Complete Poetry of Helen West Heller: With Illustrations Selected from Her Art. ------. Uncompromising Souls: The Lives and Work of Artist Helen West Heller and Husband Roger.
  • Chicago No-Jury Society; founding member

    1936: American Artists Congress, New York, New York

    1948: named an associate of the National Academy of Design
  • 1944, 1949: awards for prints, Library of Congress
  • 1892-?: model for artists

    1892-?: menial jobs

    wrote poetry; caught attention of artist Jean Heap; published in several journals and in the weekly Art Magazine of the Chicago Evening Post, from 1926 to 1928, under the name of “Tanka.”

    1902-?: factory work

    1930s: WPA artist: paintings, prints, murals
  • page on Bernard Friedman Collection website

    page on Scattergood-Moore Collection website

    essay by Cori Sherman North, The Art of a Prairie Child: Helen West Heller, 1872-1955

    page on Wikipedia

    C.J. Bulliet June 8, 1935 Chicago Daily News article transcribed on Illinois Historical Art Project website

  • Father:  John Barnhart, wagon maker, boat builder, decoy maker, farmer; Helen's most prized possession, a fire in 1934, was a black walnut bookcase he made

    Name of the "No-Jury" Society of Chicago artists was her idea.

    While deeply spiritual in her artwork, Heller was also a committed Marxist who attended the First American Artists’ Congress Against War and Fascism in 1936.

    Leading an Artists Union protest against WPA job layoffs in December 1936, Heller was beaten unconscious by police and arrested with more than 200 of her fellow sit-down strikers.