Helen Greene Blumenschein (1909-1989) Biography
Helen Greene Blumenschein (1909-1989)
Helen Blumenschein was born in Brooklyn, New York to the prominent artists Ernest L. and Mary Green Blumenschein. The family began to split their time between New York and Taos in 1919, and Helen Blumenschein attended Taos schools before enrolling at the Packer Collegiate Institute in Brooklyn. She showed interest in art from an early age but chose not to receive instruction from her parents. From 1929 to 1931 she studied art in Europe including classes with the modernist painter, Andre Lhote, in Paris. From 1932 to 1936 Blumenschein spent part of each year studying printmaking at the Art Students League in New York.
Helen Blumenschein worked in a wide variety of media including oil, watercolor, lithography, silk screen, ink and charcoal, focusing on Western mountain and desert landscapes, and New Mexico genre scenes and portraits. She is best-known for her prints which she exhibited nationally and internationally from 1936 to 1945 at such venues as the National Academy of Design, Carnegie Institute, Paris Salon, and the New York World's Fair. One-woman exhibitions included the Oklahoma City Art Center and the New Mexico Museum of Art. Her work is included in the collections of the Library of Congress, the New York Public Library, the Newark Public Library, the Carnegie Institute, and the Cincinnati Art Museum Association.
In addition to her art, Helen Blumenschein was an avid amateur naturalist, hunter, historian, archaeologist, and writer. She was active in the Taos Historical Society and New Mexico Archaeological Society, and published three books: Sights and Sounds of Taos Valley (1972), Petroglyphs in Rio Arriba County (1973), and Recuerdos: Early Days of the Blumenschein Family (1979).
During World War II, Blumenschein served with the Women's Army Corp in the South Pacific. After the War, she spent most of her time working at her art in Taos. Following the death of her father in 1960, she donated the family home in Taos to the Kit Carson Museum (now the Taos Historic Museums) to be operated as a museum in honor of her parents.