Helen Lundeberg, Self-Portrait, 1944, Collection Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University, Gift of The Lorser Feitelson and Helen Lundeberg Feitelson Arts Foundation.


What's it all about?

Exhibit Overview

Laguna Art Museum is proud to be organizing the first comprehensive exhibition of the work of a key figure in twentieth-century California art, Helen Lundeberg (1908-1999).

Featuring approximately sixty to seventy paintings, it will survey Lundeberg’s career systematically, beginning with her landmark Post-Surrealist paintings of the 1930s. With her teacher and later husband Lorser Feitelson, she organized the Post-Surrealist group, the first of its kind in the United States, and wrote its manifesto. Though exploring psychology and personal expression, the Post Surrealists aimed to bring a greater sense of order and control to European Surrealism and originally styled themselves New Classicists. By the late 1950s Lundeberg was working on a larger scale. She simplified her style into broad, flat areas of color and, though never a pure abstractionist, played a key part in the “hard-edge” tendency in mid-century painting. Bringing de Chirico-like ambiguities of space to architectural and landscape compositions, she preserved the enigmatic mood of her earlier, surrealistic imagery.

The exhibition follows upon an upswing in Lundeberg’s reputation. She is the subject of a substantial monograph by Suzanne Muchnic, published in 2014, and has been included in some recent international exhibitions—notably In Wonderland: The Surrealist Adventures of Women Artists in Mexico and the United States at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Museo de Arte Moderno in Mexico City in 2012-13. The curator of In Wonderland was Ilene Susan Fort, Gail and John Liebes Curator of American Art at LACMA, and Laguna Art Museum is delighted to have her as guest curator for the Lundeberg retrospective project. Dr. Fort will be a main contributor to the fully illustrated catalogue that will accompany the exhibition, along with another much admired scholar of California art, Michael Duncan.

Support and Grants

Support for the exhibition was generously provided by Brahm and Sandy Dijkstra, Brent Harris, Janice Johnson, Mitchell and Joan Markow, Kelly J. Tucker M.D., Inc. and Rick Silver and Robert Hayden III. Foundation support comes from The Segerstrom Foundation, The John and Susan Horseman Foundation for American Art, The Feitelson Lundeberg Foundation, and The Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

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