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HELEN LUNDEBERG Chicago, Illinois 1908 - 1999 Los Angeles, California
Through a college graduation gift, Helen Lundeberg enrolled at the Pasadena Stickney School of Art in 1930, where she met and, eventually married, teacher Lorser Feitelson. Together they co-founded ‘Post Surrealism’ in 1934, integrating classic subjective association with personal symbology and vision. The “Double Portrait of the Artist in Time” (Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of American Art) and “Microcosm and Macrocosm” are among her pure ‘post-surrealist’ paintings, the former connecting the relative periods in the artist’s and her blossom’s lives and the latter connecting the cosmos of the insect to that of the artist herself. It was included in the 1935 “Post-Surrealism” exhibition curated at the San Francisco Museum of Art that was subsequently shown, in 1936, at the Brooklyn Museum.
Lundeberg was employed by the FAP/WPA in the print and mural division from 1936 until the Project closed in 1942. Of her many murals, the last one was the spectacular petrachrome mural wall, 241 feet long, “The History of Transportation”, for the City of Inglewood, California. At the time, this was the largest such project in the United States.
By 1942 she commenced a decade of post-surreal ‘mood’ paintings that included intimate still lifes, evocative tree-strewn landscapes and...outer space. In “Fantasy”, the artist’s romance with the infinite skies continues in this small but monumental composition. Lundeberg’s work summons forth a spiritual mood, a peaceful mood through a ‘Helen Lundeberg palette’ of subtle color nuances and intuitive form.
Though she tentatively explored geometric elements in the early 1950s, ambiguous space and disparate objects took precedence. However, by 1957 she confirmed hardedge abstraction in a series of architectonic interiors. In “Interior with Painting”, tenebrism contributed shadows and geometric form to subjective hard edge abstraction. This painting was exhibited in the Whitney Museum of American Art: “Geometric Abstraction in America”, in1962.
Throughout her long career, Helen Lundeberg was inspired by many subjects that varied from minuscule worlds to pulsating planets, from still lifes to architectonic structures; she merged exterior and interior space with visible and implied pathways. Her rare ‘self-portraits’ are treasured. Throughout her creative life, the ‘Helen Lundeberg mood’ and the ‘Helen Lundberg palette’ were constants.