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Autumn Still Life, 1951

Helen Lundeberg

American, 1908-1999
Oil on plywood
14-1/8 x 21-7/8 in. (35.9 x 55.6 cm)
Norton Simon Museum, Gift of Marjorie Stotsky
© The Feitelson / Lundeberg Art Foundation

Not on view

“My work has been concerned, in varying modes of pictorial structure and various degrees of representation and abstraction, with the effort to embody, and to evoke, states of minds, moods and emotions.”

Helen Lundeberg, a seminal Los Angeles artist, co-founded the new classicism movement in the 1930s, motivated by the philosophy that the spontaneous fantasy of surrealism could coexist with the formal structure of academic painting.

The artist’s intimately scaled still life is an invented arrangement that follows the well-established convention of placing objects on a shelf or sill that gives way to a distant landscape. Here, her finely rendered motifs—the fruits and paper bag—occupy a space that is at once recognizable and strange; the palette of muted hues communicates a sense of repose. Lundeberg’s meticulously composed painting elicits feelings and memories rather than concrete associations.

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