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Siesta on the Window Seat,
Helen Turner (1858-1958)

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Oil on canvas
12 x 16 inches
Signature Details: Helen M. Turner
Status: Available


Helen Maria Turner was an active member of the art colony in Cragsmoor, New York, particularly well known for her oil paintings of women in gardens and interiors.Born in Louisville, Kentucky in 1858, Turner spent her childhood and early adulthood in New Orleans. She was orphaned at age 13 and grew up in genteel poverty.

Turner began painting at age 22; she took classes at the New Orleans Art Union around 1890. From 1893 to 1895, she was an instructor at an Episcopal school for girls in Dallas, Texas.

In 1895, Turner moved to New York City and enrolled in the Art Students League, where she studied under Kenyon Cox and Douglas Volk. In 1898, she also enrolled in the Women=s Art School of Cooper Union in order to continue studying portraiture with Volk. She earned a diploma from Cooper Union. From 1899 to 1900, Turner was enrolled in the Fine Arts Department of the Teachers= College of Columbia University, where she was accepted as a temporary instructor and received a scholarship.

In 1902, Turner was hired as a teacher in the Art School of the New York City Young Women=s Christian Association. She taught life drawing, drawing from casts, and costume drawing. She continued to teach for 17 years and retired in 1919.

Turner was a true American impressionist painter who chose to study with American instructors. Her early work included miniature portraits, pastels, watercolors and oils. From 1900 to 1910, she concentrated on landscapes.

From 1910, Turner worked almost exclusively in oils. Most of her paintings were done without the customary preliminary sketches and studies. She was most famous for her portraits of people in their homes or other intimate environments.


Turner spent almost every summer between 1906 and 1941 at the artists= colony in Cragsmoor, New York; she did spend several summers studying with William Merritt Chase in Italy. She died in 1958 in New Orleans.


American Federation of Arts

Allied Artists of America

Association of American Women Painters and Sculptors

National Academy of Design

New York Water Color Club



Chrysler Museum, Norfolk, Virginia

Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

Detroit Institute of Arts

Museum of Fine Art, Houston

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York city

News Orleans Museum of Art

Newark Art Museum, New Jersey

Phillips Collection, Washington, DC


Taken from The Art Analog


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