Dozens of Helen Andersen paintings discovered!

fannies-helen-300Here’s Helen Andersen, my mother, painted by her mother before I was born. Helen died in 1995 and when her husband Raabye died 10 years later, most of her paintings were thought to be lost. Water damage had claimed them… or so we thought.

This week, out of the blue, a message arrived informing us that perhaps as many as 30 of Helen’s smaller works had survived. They were discovered in the apartment building where Raabye had lived. The building’s new owners were told that the neglected works were apparently not not wanted by anyone.

How fortunate that the new owners are such caring people! It took considerable time and effort to track down a relative of Helen’s.

Plans are underway to retrieve the long-lost paintings. I don’t even know which ones they are. As the story unfolds, I’ll post more here, including photos of the paintings.

I haven’t yet asked for permission to name the wonderful, thoughtful couple who brought Helen’s paintings to light, but we are very grateful for their sensitivity and kindness.

fannies-helen-300 A bit more about Fannie Anderson’s portrait of Helen:
Helen trained as a Registered Nurse in Regina, Saskatchewan and her wardrobe here strongly suggests a nurse’s uniform cape of the period. My guess is that a proud mother was recording her daughter’s success in becoming an RN. Helen’s father, W.E. Anderson was a practicing medical doctor, so Helen was following his lead as far as her gender permitted in those days.

15 thoughts on “Dozens of Helen Andersen paintings discovered!

  1. It is so wonderful that you have found them….so much history there.
    Will be so happy to see them.
    Kathleen

    • Yes, Kathleen, it is an exciting development! I felt horrible when I thought that all of Helen’s work had been lost. Much of it has been, I’m afraid, but perhaps even some of her larger canvases have been dispersed to parts unknown and may show up someday.

      The newly found survivor pieces are apparently fairly small in size, some framed, some not. I wonder what period(s) they may be from and what condition they are in. Much mystery, much excitement!

  2. How exciting!!
    We thought they were gone. How kind of the wonderful people,
    who contacted you. They are exceptional and make the world a better place.

    A large painting of Helen’s is in Kelowna on Sarah’s wall.
    It’s acrylic of Theresa Sneed playing cards with me.

    Great portrait of mom by her mother.(I have a painting here
    by Fannie) She also had talent with colour.

    Thank you, you made my day!
    Joni

  3. So very pleased to hear that the paintings are safe. Looking forward to meeting these wonderful people who were so considerate and to helping you to retrieve them.

  4. What an exciting discovery for you Bill! You must be thrilled. It would be very exciting to be at the revealing…. And thank you for letting me know about it to share the excitement.

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