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Helen Lundeberg: Interiors - Exhibitions - Louis Stern Fine Arts

Helen Lundeberg (1908-1999)
Narrow View, 1961
oil on canvas
30 x 54 inches; 76.2 x 137.2 centimeters
LSFA# 01209

Helen Lundeberg: Interiors

January 12, 2019 – March 2, 2019

Los Angeles, CA. Louis Stern Fine Arts is pleased to present “Helen Lundeberg: Interiors.” In this presentation of Lundeberg’s intimate interior compositions, the artist’s subtle lens renders familiar scenery and objects strange and mysterious. This exhibition, which spans multiple decades of Lundeberg’s career, reflects the notoriously reclusive artist’s powerful command of illusory perspective and fascination with interchangeable positive and negative space.

Beginning with her Post-Surrealist work in the 1930s and continuing throughout her career, Lundeberg utilized ambiguous interior spaces to stage a series of images, carefully organized to evoke guided contemplation within the viewer. The unusual arrangement of ordinary objects, set within spaces just outside the realm of decipherable form, provokes a response of simultaneous recognition and unfamiliarity. Lundeberg wrote of one such painting: “Every element functions to create the emotional entity of the picture...seeking, and failing to find, a rational significance and relationship of these forms to each other and to their surroundings, the mind takes refuge in a sort of mysticism. The commonplace objects take on a strangeness, a meaning which cannot be analyzed.”

In 1950, Lundeberg entered a new stage of her work, when her interior spaces began to function as mystical entities unto themselves. Flat, hard-edged shapes are meticulously placed to suggest shadows, corridors, and ambiguous indoor and outdoor spaces. Sometimes self- referential, portraying paintings within paintings, the works draw the viewer down shadowy paths and invite them to peek out at glimpses of abstracted waterways or grand mountain ranges. Objects such as tables, cups, and pieces of fruit continue to recur as meditative items, at once inviting and arcane. Morphing under observation, these compositions hover in the liminal space between the ordinary and the inscrutable, imbuing the everyday with an air of mystery.

Lundeberg was not a traveler by nature; even her soaring landscapes and elegant architectural facades were largely invented, assembled from observation in her own vivid mind’s eye. Labyrinthine and cryptic, these atmospheric paintings give shape to the enigmatic pathways and ambiguous spaces in the artist’s mind, while inviting viewers to explore their own.

Works by Helen Lundeberg are included in the permanent collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Joseph H. Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, D.C.; the National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institute, Washington D.C.; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts; the Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena, California; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; and numerous other public and private collections.

Louis Stern Fine Arts is the exclusive representative of the Estate of Helen Lundeberg.

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