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 Helen DuPre Moseley  (1887 - 1984)

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Lived/Active: South Carolina      Known for: surreal figure painting, anthropomorphic figures

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Biography from The Johnson Collection:
Just as her life defied many conventions of the day, Helen DuPré Moseley’s imaginative art is wholly original and difficult to neatly categorize. A native of Spartanburg, South Carolina, Moseley grew up on the campus of Wofford College, where her father was a professor. After receiving bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Converse College, she married, gave birth to three children, and lived in typical fashion for genteel early twentieth century Southern ladies. Her husband’s sudden death, however, pushed her into unfamiliar realms. After successfully managing her late husband’s insurance business, she was named Spartanburg’s first female postmaster by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1934, an appointment she held for twenty-one years.

It was not until 1947 that Moseley began to draw and paint, interests she initially approached as recreational hobbies. In 1949, she started to create more complex oil canvases, often populated by her signature “creatures,” surreal figures that combine animal forms with human characteristics. Fueled by her growing passion, Moseley traveled frequently to New York and twice to Europe, visiting museums and following developments in modern art. She drew inspiration from artists such as Salvador Dali, Henri Matisse, and Hieronymus Bosch, and refused to title her unique works, preferring instead to allow viewers to make their own interpretations. “Art may depict objects we see, emotions we feel, historical events, or things we imagine,” Moseley wrote. “To some an imaginary world is very real; to some it is absurd or irrational.”

The Johnson Collection, Spartanburg, South Carolina

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