Figurative Art in California
During the Modern Period

June 21 – September 28, 2008

Public Reception: June 21, 2008, from 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Spencer Jon Helfen Fine Arts
9200 West Olympic Boulevard, Beverly Hills, CA 90212
(310) 273-8838, fax (310) 273-8848
Web site,
Gallery hours, Tuesday – Saturday, 11am-6pm

Spencer Jon Helfen Fine Arts is celebrating its fifth anniversary!  In celebration we are pleased to present one of our most historically significant exhibitions:  Figurative Art in California During the Modern Period.  In our new exhibition we travel through time in presenting paintings and sculpture that trace the early Modernist interpretations of the figure from as early as 1910 through 1950.  We will display important works by Gertrude Partington Albright, Victor Arnautoff, Brents Carlton, Francis de Erdely, Boris Deutsch, Karoly Fulop, John Emmett Gerrity, Robert Gilbert, Peter Krasnow, Helen Clark Oldfield, Otis Oldfield, Burr Singer, Rex Slinkard, Lucretia Van Horn, and many more of California’s foremost Modernists.  The exhibition includes oil paintings, sculpture, drawings in charcoal, Conté crayon, graphite and ink wash, and prints.

Rex Slinkard (1887 – 1918)
Untitled (Reclining Nude)
Ca. 1910
Signed “Slinkard” verso
Oil on canvas
30 x 48 inches
A Seed of Modernism: The Art Students League of Los Angeles, 1906-1953,
Pasadena Museum of California Art, Pasadena, CA, 2008

Rex Slinkard (1887 – 1918) was a student and later a teacher at the Los Angeles Art Students League.  As a promising student he received a scholarship to study in New York under the famed painter Robert Henri.  The influence of Henri in “Untitled (Reclining Nude),” circa 1910, is evident.  But Slinkard also drew upon his own inspirations, not the least of which was his choice of subject – a nude male.  His work is considered to be some of the earliest Modernist work in California.  Slinkard’s life was cut short after he enlisted in the army in 1918 and, while awaiting transport in New York, died in the influenza epidemic.  This is the first major work of the artist to be offered to the public in decades, given that virtually his entire output was donated to Stanford University many years after his death.

Lucretia Van Horn (1882 – 1970)
Seated Woman
Ca. 1927
Signed “L. Van Horn” lower right
Oil on canvas
30 x 21 inches

Helen Clark Oldfield (1902 – 1981)
Mr. Piazzoni
Signed “Helen Clark 26” lower right
Oil on paper laid on board
11.75 x 8.75 inches

The exhibition also includes works by a number of women artists, including Gertrude Partington Albright (1874 – 1959); Helen Clark Oldfield (1902 – 1981), whose 1926 “Mr. Piazzoni” is a skillful rendering of the influential Bay Area artist and teacher Gottardo Piazzoni; Burr Singer (1912 – 1992), whose 1943 rendering of an African-American sailor entitled “Letter from Home” reveals both the masculine and sensitive attributes of the young man who has received a letter from his family; and Lucretia Van Horn (1882 – 1970), who worked with Diego Rivera and who created many stunning, detailed and sometimes fanciful images of Mexican culture, including “Seated Woman,” circa 1927, in which the influence of Rivera is evident, and which portrays a proud, indigenous woman dressed strikingly in pink and green and seated on a yellow cube.
The exhibition features many other important and exquisite works of art.  
The Gallery specializes in California and American Modernism of the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s, and is one of the only galleries to undertake large-scale exhibitions featuring the important art and artists of the Modernist period in California.  

Spencer Jon Helfen Fine Arts is open Tuesday - Saturday 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., and by appointment.  The Gallery is located at 9200 West Olympic Boulevard, Suite 200, in Beverly Hills.  Phone: 310.273.8838 Fax: 310.273.8848 Website:

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