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 Helena Adele M Dunlap  (1876 - 1955)

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Lived/Active: California      Known for: figure and landscape painting, graphics, genre

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Ad Code: 3
Helena Adele M Dunlap
from Auction House Records.
The Flower Arranger
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Helena Dunlap was best known for her involvement in the California Impressionist and Post-Impressionist movements, as her paintings are a reflection of both disciplines. Considered a radical at the time, in the early 1900's she helped pave the way for future modernist painters. Although her early style was noticeably based on the Impressionistic values of a bright palette and deliberate brush strokes, her later work reflects a shift to Modernism.

Dunlap was a native Californian, born in Los Angeles in 1876. She attended both the Art Institute of Chicago and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, studying under William Merritt Chase in New York and later with Andre L'hote in Paris. Dunlap exhibited some of her paintings when she returned to Los Angeles from Paris in 1911 and was immediately labeled a "Modernist". She shocked the local art scene with her controversial painting style, which her critics considered "unrealistic". She painted everyday objects that were composed of layers of color. Dunlap was criticized for painting a woman with hair that was blue because this was realistically how it appeared to her.

Sticking to a truly Modernist approach, Dunlap painted scenes, giving more attention to line, color and composition, not just subject. She was part of an elite corps of California Impressionists who had difficulty getting their works recognized by the California Arts Club of Los Angeles. As a contradiction, in 1915 she was awarded a gold medal for a painting she submitted in the Panama-California Exposition in San Diego, California. Soon after, in 1919, Dunlap led what was labeled as the California Progressive Group, which acted as an alternative to the California Arts Club. She and her colleagues, Jack Stark, Detlef Sammann, Bruce Nelson and Karl Yens were gradually earning the recognition they deserved, much to the chagrin of the California Arts Club.

Dunlap was the co-founder of the Modern Art Society in Los Angeles and between 1915 and 1917 held solo exhibitions at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Chicago Art Institute and the National Academy of Design, New York. Dunlap stayed in the Los Angeles area throughout the later part of her life, living in Whittier, California until her death in 1955.

Phil Kovinick and Marian Yoshiki Kovinick, "Women Artists of the American West"

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born on a ranch in Whittier, CA on Oct. 9, 1876. Dunlap studied at the AIC, PAFA, with Wm M. Chase in NYC, Simon and Lhote in Paris. Returning to Los Angeles in 1911, she became active in the local art scene. During this period her avant-garde approach to painting was highly praised by the local press. Considered a modernist, her work is rooted in Impressionism. She traveled extensively and lived in Paris for many years before establishing a home in Laguna Beach in the early 1950s. Returning to Whittier, she died on May 1, 1955. Exh: Paris Salon, 1908-25; Steckel Gallery (LA), 1911 (1st solo); Calif. Art Club, 1914-29; PPIE, 1915; Panama-Calif. Expo (San Diego), 1915 (gold and silver medals); LA Museum of History, Science & Art, 1914, 1915, 1917, 1923 (solos); NAD; SFAA, 1916-25 (medals); Modern Art Society (LA), 1919-25; PAFA, 1919; Stendahl Gallery (LA), 1922 (solo); Oakland Art Gallery, 1922; Calif. WC Society, 1923; Cannell & Chaffin Gallery (LA), 1924; Calif. State Fair, 1926; Painters & Sculptors of LA, 1928. In: LACMA; Santa Fe Railway (Chicago); Irvine (CA) Museum; Huntington Gallery (San Marino); Southwest Museum (LA); San Diego Museum.
Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
Art in California (R. L. Bernier, 1916); Southern California Artists (Nancy Moure); Artists of the American West (Doris Dawdy); Women Artists of the American West; Dictionnaire des Peintres, Sculpteurs, Dessinateurs, et Graveurs (Bénézit, E); California State Library (Sacramento); California Impressionism (Wm. Gerdts & Will South); American Art Annual 1905-33; Who's Who in American Art 1936-41; Los Angeles Times, 5-4-1955 (obituary).
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.

Biography from William A. Karges Fine Art - Beverly Hills:
Helena Dunlap was born in Los Angeles, California in 1876. She was very well studied, having attended the Art Institute of Chicago, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, and in Paris. Returning to Los Angeles in 1911, Dunlap exhibited her Modernist paintings, earning awards throughout California.

Helena Dunlap died in Whittier, California, in 1955, where she kept a studio on her orange ranch.

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Helena Dunlap is also mentioned in these AskART essays:
The California Art Club
San Francisco Panama-Pacific Exhibition 1915
Taos Pre 1940

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