Apr 29th 2022

Book Appointment

In the north gallery, Corbett vs. Dempsey is pleased to present Drawings of the 1930s and 1940s, featuring eight works by John Edward Heliker (1909-2000).  This rare exhibition of the artist’s work is drawn from a small collection of works on paper from a prime period early in his career, when he was drawing and sketching actively alongside Social Realist contemporaries including William Gropper and Ben Shahn.  Like those artists, Heliker was politically active on the left, and starting in the late 1930s he made drawings published in New Masses, the Marxist magazine, and joined the WPA Federal Art Project as an easel painter.  His pen and ink drawings from this period are exacting and elegant, with nib tests evident in the margins of the paper and an incredibly assured hand, whether sketching a portrait from life, describing a cityscape, or inventing a satirical caricature, the lurking vitriol of which which might evoke something drawn by George Grosz or Otto Dix.

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