June 2017 - October 31, 2017


Newly Discovered Vidar Artworks:

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Frede Vidar - New Discoveries

We can hardly express our surprise and delight at the discovery by the Estate of Frede Vidar of six previously unknown artworks: two oil paintings and four works on paper!

Frede Vidar immigrated from Denmark to San Francisco with his parents at a young age. He studied at the California School of Fine Arts, as well as the Académie Julian and the École des Beaux Arts in Paris, and at the Academy of Fine Arts in Berlin.

After studying with Matisse and Dufy in Paris in 1933, Vidar returned to San Francisco.

In 1934, he was one of the artists selected under the Public Works of Art Project of the Roosevelt Administration to produce murals for San Francisco's Coit Tower. 

Soon after his work on Coit Tower, Vidar traveled extensively in Western Europe where he created most of these newly discovered artworks.  Each of the works on paper are exquisitely rendered images of foreign locations.  The oil paintings reveal Vidar's unique interpretation of people and places.

With respect to all of these artworks, we have tried to keep them in their original condition by retaining the original frames and by only replacing the mats and Plexiglas for the works on paper.

We hope you enjoy these new discoveries.



Brooklyn Social

Frede Vidar – New Discoveries

Firenze Italia


La Grande Lavra, Mont Athos


Tower of Tears, Amsterdam


Artworks No Longer Available




Special Announcement


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Victor Arnautoff - A Political Biography

We are extremely pleased to announce the publication of “Victor Arnautoff and the Politics of Art” by Robert W. Cherny, professor emeritus of history at San Francisco State University. This important work about one of California’s foremost Modernist artists helps solidify Arnautoff’s place in California as a prominent leader in the arts community during the tumultuous period that our Gallery has showcased and represented since our inception.

We are proud to represent the Estate of Victor Arnautoff, and have sold many important works by the Artist with powerful expressions of his social realist consciousness. To view many other works available by Victor Arnautoff, please visit his gallery page: Victor Arnautoff: Selection of Works.

Below is the publisher’s description of Robert W. Cherny’s groundbreaking work, along with methods by which you can acquire the book. And, of course, you can always contact the Gallery with questions about the Artist and his work by contacting us by email or phone.

Victor Arnautoff and the Politics of Art – Robert W. Cherny
A political biography of the great California muralist

A leading West Coast modernist, Victor Arnautoff reigned as San Francisco’s leading mural painter during the New Deal era. Yet that was only part of an astonishing life journey from Tsarist officer to leftist painter that reflected a century of tumult in politics and art.

Robert W. Cherny’s masterful biography of Arnautoff braids the artist’s work with his increasingly leftist politics and the tenor of his times. Delving into sources on Russian émigrés and San Francisco’s arts communities, Cherny traces Arnautoff’s life from refugee art student and assistant to Diego Rivera to prominence in the New Deal’s art projects and a faculty position at Stanford University. As Arnautoff’s politics moved left, he often incorporated working people and people of color into his treatment of the American past and present. In the 1950s, however, his participation in leftist organizations and a highly critical cartoon of Richard Nixon landed him before the House Un-American Activities Committee and led to calls for his dismissal from Stanford. Arnautoff eventually departed America, a refugee of another kind, now fleeing personal loss and the disintegration of the left-labor culture that had nurtured him, before resuming his artistic career in the Soviet Union that he had fought in his youth to destroy.

Cherny tells a spellbinding story that is at once illuminating and authoritative in its depiction of the Russian diaspora after the Bolshevik Revolution, the cultural politics of San Francisco from the Twenties through the Fifties, the intersection of individual artistic creativity, patronage and philanthropy, and public arts policy in California in the context of the Great Depression, World War II, and the Cold War. His book establishes a new gold standard in the field of California cultural history in the twentieth century.

–William Issel, author of Church and State in the City: Catholics and Politics in Twentieth Century San Francisco.

Please contact us at info@HelfenFineArts.com with any questions about the art of Victor Arnautoff or any other artworks that you may find on our website: www.HelfenFineArts.com. We look forward to hearing from you!

Please visit the Gallery to see important California Modernist artworks included in our ongoing exhibition: California Modernism 1910 - 1950. We are open anytime by appointment.

The exhibition includes works by Mabel Alvarez, Victor Arnautoff, Ferdinand Burgdorff, Ralph Chessé, Francis de Erdely, Pele de Lappe, Boris Deutsch, Karoly Fulop, Robert Gilbert, Robert Kennicott, Knud Merrild, Jerre H. Murry, Irving Norman, Helen Clark Oldfield, Otis Oldfield, Abraham Palansky, Stan Poray, Edna Reindel, Nina Saemundsson, Frede Vidar, Bernard Zakheim, and many others.



Victor Arnautoff and the Politics of Art

Ordering Information

University of Illinois Press

Victor Arnautoff and the Politics of Art

A volume in the series The Working Class in American History, edited by James R. Barrett, Julie Greene, William P. Jones, Alice Kessler-Harris, and Nelson Lichtenstein

Robert W. Cherny is professor emeritus of history at San Francisco State University. His publications include five books on American politics.

384 PAGES. 6.125 X 9.25 INCHES
HARDCOVER, 978-0-252-04078-8. $95.00
PAPER, 978-0-252-08230-6. $34.95

Phone orders: (800) 621-2736 (USA/Canada); (773) 702-7000 (International)
Fax orders: (800) 621-8476 (USA/Canada);
(773) 702-7212 (International)
Online orders: www.press.uillinois.edu
U.S. Mail orders:
Customer Service, Chicago Distribution Center,
11030 South Langley Avenue, Chicago, IL 60628
Exam copies: Visit www.press.uillinois.edu/

E-books: Check with your preferred ebook store for ebook availability and ordering.






New Acquisitions – 2016