American Masterpieces from Dryads Green Gallery
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Curator's Comments: Reading Annette Blaugrund’s  brief biographies of the American artists
participating in the Salon of 1889 is instructive. The women die young--younger than the majority of
the men. Whether this is owing to botched birthing or abortion is not known. A worse fate was
contracting syphilis passed from prostitute-models to the male painters who in turn slept with their
female colleagues. And the women who marry male artists suffer the evils of family and domination by
husband breadwinners. For every twenty men painting in our period--from 1840 to 1940--only a handful
of women are recognized. Among this group are Cecilia Beaux, Elizabeth Nourse, Lila Cabot Perry,
Georgia O'Keeffe, Jane Peterson, and Fern Coppedge. Not found is Helen Adele Fleck, born in
Philadelphia on June 30, 1887, who, like Coppedge, painted primarily in New Hope. Fleck was raised in
Philadelphia, and in 1905 she was awarded a four year scholarship to the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine
Arts (PAFA). Instead of attending immediately, she traveled to Europe, living during the winter of 1905
in Cologne, where she visited museums. She returned to Philadelphia the summer of 1906, and at
PAFA, she met fellow student Leopold Seyffert. They were married in 1911, but as Seyffert became a
pre-eminent portrait painter, she was forced to sacrifice much of her career--with Seyffert eventually
leaving her to marry his favorite model.
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Two New Hope Landscapes By Long Lost Helen A Fleck
Independent as a painter, Fleck fell under the influence of close friend Arthur Carles though she
never developed his more abstract style. She painted cityscapes and landscapes in New Hope and
San Fernando, Spain, an oil painting from 1914, in a group show at the Memorial Art Gallery
in Rochester, NY. The Seyffert’s were friends with the Daniel Garber, who we see as a major
influence on her work. Artist Waldo Pierce was also part of the Seyffert circle. But soon enough three
children intervened, and the Seyfferts moved to Chicago in 1917, where Leopold began teaching at the
Art Institute. While Helen continued to paint, her family responsibilities increased as Leopold's
reputation grew along with his need to travel for commissions. In 1923, the Seyfferts rented a house in
Senlis, the lovely historic town just north of Paris. Sometime later Helen moved to Europe with her
children, and it was during this time that she was photographed by Man Ray. During the Twenties she
modeled for her close friend Archer Becher Carles and for her husband as well. Seyffert’s 1928
My Family, now in the Brooklyn Museum, shows Helen and her two sons. Seyffert opened
a studio in New York circa 1925, but continued teaching in Chicago. In 1930, the painter couple
divorced and Helen remarried French print-dealer Jean Goriany. The couple lived in New York, and
during the 1930s shared responsibility for her sons by Seyffert. But Helen continued to paint in
Europe. After WWII, following her sons,  Fleck moved to Lima, Peru, where she died in 1948.
Delaware Valley View
New Hope Landscape
Fleck by Carles
Fleck by Man Ray
Fleck in Seyffert's 'My Family'
Garber's Work Influenced Fleck
Fleck As Exhibited by PAFA
*Note: These paintings have been consigned by a direct descendant of the artist. Please contact us for
details. We share his critical judgement that Fleck's artistic talent deserves much greater recognition.