Pastels on paper, 19 x 25″
Inez Helen Seibert Brooks (American 1914-1987)
An exemplary modernist, Helen Seibert, at Duncan Phillips’s suggestion was, for an incredibly fruitful year the only student of Arthur Dove. After marriage at 22 to Charles Brooks, two years her junior, the son of the great literary lion of New England, Van Wyck Brooks (1886-1963) the couple explored Europe close to the outbreak of war,1937-38. With introductions to literary and artistic geniuses, including Braque, Hemingway, Gertrude Stein and her circle, and Picasso. Back in New York she was associated with An American Place, Alfred Steiglitz’s nursery of American modernism.
Helen and Charles moved to California, staying a while at Mabel Dodge’s salon in Taos, New Mexico. Eventually settling in Marin County in 1940, Helen would create unique modernist and post-cubist masterpieces for the next nine years. She was 35 years old in 1949 when she was diagnosed with schizophrenia, untreatable at the time-Her career was filled with promise–she had been exhibited in a major museum –a 1946 group show at the San Francisco Palace of the Legion of Honor. Against this tragic personal background and a brief career, Siebert nevertheless figures importantly in the history of arts and letters in the United States. Her sophisticated aesthetic achievement and fresh synthesis of abstraction and figuration were accomplished well before the dawn of the1950’s on the West coast.