Oral Histories

Interview of Helen Lundeberg

Los Angeles Art Community: Group Portrait, Helen Lundeberg
Los Angeles Art Community - Group Portrait
Biographical Note:
Danieli, Fidel
Lundeberg, Helen
Persons Present:
Lundeberg and Danieli.
Place Conducted:
Lundeberg and Lorser Feitelson's home and studio in Los Angeles, California.
Supporting Documents:
Records relating to the interview are located in the office of the UCLA Library's Center for Oral History Research.
Interviewer Background and Preparation:
The interview was conducted by Fidel Danieli, freelance consultant to "L.A. Art Community: Group Portrait," Oral History Program; B.A., Art Education, UCLA; M.A., Pictorial Arts, UCLA. Professor of art, Los Angeles Valley Center in Van Nuys, painter, and critic.Danieli had studied with Lundeberg's husband, Lorser Feitelson, and considered himself a longtime friend of the couple at the time of the interview. No special research or preparation was required for this particular interview session.
Processing of Interview:
Editing was done by Lawrence Weschler, editor, Oral History Program. He checked the verbatim transcript of the interview against the original tape recordings and edited for punctuation, paragraphing, correct spelling, and verification of proper nouns. Words and phrases inserted by the editor have been bracketed.The interviewee reviewed and approved the edited transcript.Hunter Drohojowska wrote the introduction. Other front matter and the index were prepared by Oral History Program staff.
2.5 hrs.
Regents of the University of California, UCLA Library.
Series Statement:
This series includes interviews with prominent Los Angeles-based visual artists and other members of the art establishment whose careers span the period from the 1920s through the 1970s. It documents the art community of the pre-World War II period and the rise of Los Angeles as a nationally recognized art center in the postwar period. Funding for this series was provided by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Anonymous self-presentation--Birth and infancy in Chicago (1908)--Move to Pasadena (1912)--A California childhood--Early artistic exposure and aptitude--Enrolling in Stickney Memorial Art School--Studying with Lorser Feitelson--The art scene in Los Angeles in the thirties--Early friends in the art community--Exposure of L . A. to modernist developments: the Arensberg collection, foreign visitors, the Copley Gallery--The art market in the thirties--A consistent level of production.
The Works Progress Administration murals: their execution and subsequent preservation (or lack thereof)--Other WPA activities and issues--The Post-Surrealist show in Brooklyn and San Francisco ( 1936)--"Fantastic Art, Dada, and Surrealism" at the New York Museum of Modern Art (1936-37)--"Americans 1942" at NY-MOMA--Other shows--Small paintings versus big paintings--A succession of styles and series: from Post-Surrealism to hard-edge--Invention rather than abstraction--An ongoing interest in illusion.
The influence of an artist's environs: Southern California--The Planets series--Silkscreen--The joy of painting--Sketches as preludes--Working with tape--Color: a limited palette--A dark period--Media and color: from oil to acrylics--"Pictorial structure"--Painting schedule: a daytime artist--Hard-edge takes time--Women's issues--Masculine/feminine- -Reading--Terseness in writing about work--Criticism--Jules Langsner--An armchair traveler--Reality versus fantasy--Is California a lotus land?--Post-Surrealism, surrealism, and magic realism — Nostalgia--A curious experience in selling a painting.
A curious experience (continued) --More on nostalgia--Some popular resistance to the move from nostalgia to hard-edge--Being considered a renegade--A consistent tone through the entire oeuvre--The influence of Cezanne in Southern California--A return to figuration?