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Helen Blair (1907 - 1997)

Surreal Landscape, Circa 1960

Catalogue essay coming soon…

Signed. Mixed media collage
Blair, Helen

Helen Blair (1907 - 1997)

Helen Sarah Blair was born in New Zealand. By 1922 she had already achieved some commercial success,providing the illustrations for The Why Fairy Book by L.T. Watkins.After returning to New Zealand from her studies in Paris, she metfellow artist John Hutton (1906 - 1978). Together, they embarkedon a successful and prolific collaborative relationship (eventuallymarrying in 1934), holding a joint exhibition in Wellington in1936 before relocating to London that same year. They had threechildren ‘ including Warwick Blair Hutton (1939’1994) whowas to become a noted artist, glass engraver and illustrator ‘ andcontinued to work and exhibit together in England even after theirdivorce in 1960. Blair made distinctive modernist works, often painted with apalette knife. Many of her paintings also contain classical or biblicalreferences, particularly her landscapes, which recall the backdrops tothe figure paintings of the Old Masters. Later in life she turned to making collages were mostly non-figurative (although sometimes one or two small images of people appeared in them). Many of these were shown at exhibitions in Cambridge where she lived until her death in 1997. She wrote a book on Collage (The Technique of Collage) and also wrote other books – on Rug weaving, Gemstone craft, Mosaics and Woven structures.