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 Helen Adelia Sackett Curdy  (1838 - 1910)

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Lived/Active: Kansas/Ohio/Missouri      Known for: marine and forest scene paintings

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Helen Adelia Sacket Curdy
An example of work by Helen Adelia Sackett Curdy
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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Helen Adelia Curdy 1838-1910

Lived in Kansas.  Known for coastal scenes with boats and forest scenes.

Helen Curdy was born Helen Adelia Sackett in Chautauqua County, New York on December 27, 1838 probably in the town of Mayville.  Her father Judge Russell Sackett practiced law in Mayville until 1848 when he ventured West and became one of the original "49ers".  During his journeys he encountered many adventures and eventually settled in Los Angeles, California.

The young Miss Sackett met and married William Wilson Curdy in 1859, and then resided in Painesville, Ohio.  In 1867 the growing Curdy family moved to Humboldt, Kansas.  In 1886 the family moved to Topeka, Kansas, where William Curdy became quite successful in business and the family became quite prominent in the community.

Helen Curdy's early artistic training is not well known.  It seems she took up painting later in life. The earliest known dated painting, a watercolor, is dated 1888. Curdy was talented painter of both watercolor and oil paintings.  The watercolors, done in an impressionist style were, interestingly enough, mostly scenes of small boats in the water or along a shoreline.  The inspiration for this may have been trips to California as one of her paintings depicts San Fransisco Bay and the Golden Gate.  There is a known example of a most spectacular watercolor of a forest scene, but this is considered more unusual.  These watercolors of waters with boats have a distinctive look that include prominently greys, blues, rusty reds, blacks with an almost smokey like feel.

In contrast Curdy's oil paintings were almost always forest scenes and were done in a realist style. These are overall more darker in colors and scenes.  Interestingly, the oil paintings often have some kind of water included in them such as a pond or a stream.

Curdy's paintings are almost always signed H. A. Curdy, although a simple signature of H.A.C. has also been observed. Many are also dated, but some are neither signed nor dated.

Helen A. Curdy continued painting right up until the time of her death on December 27, 1910 at 3644 Troost Avenue, Kansas City, Missouri.  She is buried in the Curdy family plot in the Evergreen Cemetery, Painesville Township, Ohio.

Submitted January 2006 by Scott Wilder, art researcher specializing in artists of Kansas.  The research for this biography is from internet searches and began with his attending an estate sale of  Isabel Curdy, one of the artist's grandchildren in Kansas City, Missouri in August 2005.  According to Wilder,  "It was a three-story house and literally every wall on all three floors had paintings done by Curdy."  

Additional information and corrections were submitted by Randal J. Loy, with his source being the artist's death certificate.

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