Here’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.
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.