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 Helen Hoffman Rousseau  (1895 - 1992)

About: Helen Hoffman Rousseau
 

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Lived/Active: California/Indiana      Known for: mod seascape, landscape, figure painting

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BIOGRAPHY for Helen Rousseau
Facts/Data
Birth
1895 (Rochester, Indiana)
 
Death
1992 (Santa Barbara, California)

Lived/Active
California/Indiana

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Often Known For
mod seascape, landscape, figure painting

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The California Art Club
Biography from Hess Fine Art & Auctions:
Born in Rochester, Indiana on July 2,1895, Helen Rousseau could have hardly imagined how her eventual interest in art would affect art around the world. Helen married early to Otto Rousseau, and later studied painting at University of California, Pomona College, and California School of Fine Art.

She was greatly influenced by Otis Oldfield, whose guidance and subject matter of modern seascapes and figures can be seen in her early works. Her works were of modernist style, and mimicking Oldfield she often painted scenes of the San Francisco Bay Area.

Her later style developed soon after her return in 1951 to the CSFA. She was taken under the wing of David Park, and studied under his more experimental figurative style. He, as one art critic describes, was "re-asserting the primacy of the figure in his abstract paintings beginning in 1950."

During this time, Helen Rousseau was swept in the wave led by David Park and which author Thomas Albright describes as an "attempt to forge a new figurative art from the slags of Abstract Expressionism.  It opened up challenges enough to occupy artists in the Bay Area for years to come."

Having studied under modernist Otis Oldfield, Rousseau was more open and able to grasp the concept and develop her own technique.  Her artwork then branched off and took it's own figurative direction.

The Women Painters of the West exhibit was instrumental in establishing woman painters, and thus helped even more to open the eyes and ears of art critics everywhere. Women Painters of the West was established for the purpose of reasserting the influential women artist who had been famous in their time but had been eventually overshadowed by their male counterparts.  As Patricia Trenton, art director of the Los Angeles Athletic Club Collection and guest curator at the Autry Museum of Western Heritage in Los Angeles said, it was for the great women artists who 'fell into the cracks of art obscurity'.

Biography from Gerald Sauer Fine Art:
Helen Rousseau [1896-1992] was born in Indiana and settled in Berkeley, California, as a child with her family. She received her art training at UC Pomona and the California School of Fine Art.

Her early works were landscapes of the San Francisco Bay Area, but she returned to the California School of Fine Art in 1951 and studied under David Park.

From that time on, she painted in the figurative style of Park for which she has become well known. In 1968, she moved to Santa Barbara.

She exhibited at the Oakland Art Museum, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Long Beach Art Association and the San Francisco Art Association among others.

Biography from Crocker Art Museum Store:
Born in Rochester, Indiana on July 2, 1895.  The Hoffman family settled in Berkeley, California when Helen was quite young.  At an early age she married Otto Rousseau, a horse trainer.  She studied painting at UC, Pomona College, and the CSFA.  At the latter she was most influenced by Otis Oldfield whose influence is seen in her early work.

Her paintings from 1925 were modernist scenes of the San Francisco Bay area; whereas, in 1951 she returned to the California School of Fine Art to study under David Park and from that time painted in the figurative style of Park.

In 1968 she retired to Santa Barbara and remained there until her demise on December 19, 1992.

ASSOCIATIONS:
California Water Color Society; Marin Society of Artists; San Francisco Women Artists; Santa Barbara Art Association; California Art Club; Whittier Art Association; Women Painters of the West; Long Beach Art Association; Artists Guild of Southern California.

EXHIBITIONS:
Oakland Art Gallery, 1932; Long Beach Art Association, 1939-45 (awards); Artists of Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Museum of Art 1942, 1961; Long Beach Art Association, 1943 (1st prize); Artists Guild of Southern California, 1948; Pasadena Museum, 1956, 1957, 1960; California State Fair, 1956, 1959, 1960; Los Angeles Art Association, 1960; San Francisco Art Association, 1960-63.

Sources:
Art of California, Nov. 1991; Kovinick, Santa Barbara Press, 12-23-1992 (obit).
Source:
Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
Nearly 20,000 biographies can be found in Artists in California 1786-1940 by Edan Hughes and is available for sale ($150). For a full book description and order information please click here.

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