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 John Frederick, Jr. Helm  (1900 - 1972)

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Lived/Active: Kansas/New York      Known for: landscape painting, dry point on copper etching, teaching

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Ad Code: 4
AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born Syracuse, NY, Sept. 16, 1900; died Manhattan, Mar. 27, 1972, John Frederick Helm was an artist who specialized in Kansas landscape painting, etching and teaching.  He did aquatint and wood engraving and also was an architect.

He studied at the University of Syracuse, earning a degree in interior design in 1924 and, after studying with F. Montague Charman over the summer, accepted a position teaching drawing and painting at Kansas State College, Manhattan.

In 1932 he helped found the Kansas State Federation of Art and served as its executive director from 1935-1954. He also helped revive the Kansas Magazine and served as the art editor from 1933-1968. In 1934, he founded the Friends of Art at Kansas State College, whose purpose was to buy art objects for a collection. This collection forms the basis for the Beach Museum of Art.

In 1935-36, Helm served as state director of the federal art project for Kansas and was chairman of the 1961 Art Committee for the Kansas Centennial.  He retired from Kansas State University in 1971.
Second prize, Midwestern Artists Exhibition, 1937; Purchase award, 2nd Biennial Exhibition of Regional Art, Manhattan, 1952.

Tulsa Art Association; California State Library; Beach Museum; Sandzén Memorial Art Gallery; Topeka Public Library

Prairie Print Makers; Prairie Water Color Painters; College Art Association; California Society of Etchers; Baltimore Watercolor Society; N.W. Printmakers.

Susan Craig, "Biographical Dictionary of Kansas Artists (active before 1945)"
Newlin, Gertrude Dix (Development of Art in Kansas. Typed Manuscript, 1951); Festival of Kansas Arts and Crafts. Catalog: Arts and Crafts of Kansas: an Exhibition held in Lawrence, Feb. 18-22, 1948 in the Community Building. Lawrence: World Co., 1948 por; Who’s Who in American Art. New York: American Federation of Arts, 1936- v.1=1936-37 v.3= 1941-42 v.2=1938-39 v.4=1940-47. 1,2, 4, 6, 7; Sain, Lydia. Kansas Artists, compiled by Lydia Sain from 1932 to 1948. Typed Manuscript, 1948.; WKDC (Kansas Artists, compiled by Woman’s Kansas Day Club. January 29, 1964. Typed Manuscript.); American Art Annual. New York: American Federation of Arts, 1898-194726; Midwestern Artists’ Exhibition (Kansas City: Kansas City Art Institute, 1920-1942 Mines, Cynthia. For the Sake of Art: The Story of an Art Movement in Kansas. s.l. Mines, 1979.) 1932-34, 1937, 1939-42; Beach; Sandzén archives; AskArt,, accessed Dec. 16, 2005; North, Bill. The Prints of John F. Helm, Jr.: a Catalogue Raisonne (Manhattan, KS: Beach Museum of Art, 2001); TPL
This and over 1,750 other biographies can be found in Biographical Dictionary of Kansas Artists (active before 1945) compiled by Susan V. Craig, Art & Architecture Librarian at University of Kansas.

Biography from Birger Sandzen Memorial Gallery:

John F. Helm, Jr.

John F. Helm, Jr. was born in Syracuse, New York, in 1900 and studied at Syracuse University and with Sandzén. He was a professor at Kansas State University for many years. Mr. Helm wrote the introduction to the book, The Graphic Work of Birger Sandzén.

Helm and Birger Sandzén were friends for many years. John often invited Sandzén to give talks and paintings demonstrations at Kansas State University in Manhattan.
During their many years as friends, Sandzén acquired many prints by John Helm whose favorite print medium was drypoint on a copper plate.

More recently his widow, Mary Helm Pollack, gave an encaustic landscape painting to the gallery in memory of John.

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