John Heliker (1909–2000) Biography
John Heliker (1909-2000) was born in Yonkers, New York. He studied painting at the Art Students League from 1927-’29. Heliker taught at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center and was a Professor of Art at Columbia University for twenty-seven years. He has also taught at the Art Students League, the New York Studio School (he was a founding faculty member), and in the MFA Painting Program at Parsons School of Design. His work was exhibited nationally in the major survey exhibitions of the Carnegie Institute, the Brooklyn Museum, the Cleveland Museum, the Corcoran Gallery, the Museum of Modern Art’s “Abstract Painting in America,” and many others. The Whitney Museum of American Art honored Heliker with a mid-career retrospective in 1968, and he has been included in numerous Whitney Museum annuals and biennials. He was represented at the Bicentennial Exhibition, “America: 1976” at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC that traveled through the country, and his work toured Europe through USIA in the 1950’s and was featured at the Worlds Fair in Brussels in 1958 and in Osaka in 1969.
Photograph by Charlotte Brooks, for the Heliker-LaHotan Foundation
Among the artist’s many awards are the Prix de Rome (1948), a Guggenheim Fellowship (1951), three Ford Foundation Purchase awards, and numerous awards from the National Academy of Design including the Benjamin Altman prizes for Landscape, Figure and Still Life. Heliker was elected a member of the National Institute for Arts and Letters in 1969 and was an Academician of the National Academy of Design. From the American Academy of Arts and Letters he won a Gold Medal for Merit and a Purchase award and grant in 1967. The artist was awarded Honorary Doctorates of Fine Arts from Colby College, Maine and from Bard College, New York. His works are included in numerous public and private collections, including the Metropolitan Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the Walker Art Center, the Philadelphia Museum and the Whitney Museum, among many others. In Maine alone, his works are in The Farnsworth Art Museum, The Portland Museum, The Ogunquit Museum, and in the museums at Bowdoin and Colby Colleges.
Maine’s Moody Vibe: There’s more to this artists’ destination than perfect blue skies and perfect blue sea.
ALTHOUGH I GREW UP IN NEW JERSEY, I’ve been going to Maine since I was 10. In the very beginning, actually, I was not quite in Maine. The place we visited, Star Island, is part of the Isles of Shoals, a small group of rocky islands about nine miles out fromPortsmouth, New Hampshire. But the […]Read More
Art Review: Heliker exhibition displays brilliance of painter whose work transcends. It’s time for John Heliker to take his place among Maine’s greats.
In John Heliker’s 1985 painting, Clamdigger with Dog, a man facing to the right looks over his right shoulder toward a black dog sitting behind him so that his face points at us. Behind him, below soft purple hills in the distance, a thick ribbon of cerulean water sets the straight horizon line at its […]Read More
Fuse Visual Arts Review: The Paintings of John Heliker — Ripe for Rediscovery
“A teacher affects eternity,” wrote Henry Adams. “He can never tell where his influence stops.” This sentiment is worth contemplating when regarding the exhibition of John Heliker’s works at Courthouse Gallery Fine Art in Ellsworth, Maine. Someone hurrying through it on their way to the next item in the busy summer event schedule Downeast might […]Read More