The following information was provided by the artist unless otherwise noted.
A prolific multimedia artist whose career spans six decades and is currently teaching painting and drawing at Union County College in Cranford, NJ, Riva Helfond has conducted private studio classes, taught advanced printmaking at New York University, and managed, with her husband, the Barrett Art Gallery in Plainfield, NJ.
Born in Brooklyn and educated in New York at the School of Industrial Art and the Art Students League (1928-40), Helfond studied painting with William von Schlegel, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, and Morris Kantor, and printmaking with Harry Sternberg. She first taught in the College Art Association Program (1933-36), predecessor to the WPA Federal Art Project. She taught printmaking at the Harlem Art Center (1936-38), and served on the creative staff of the WPA/FAP Graphics Division (1938-41). Among her students were Robert Blackburn and Ronald Joseph. During this period, she worked in woodcuts and lithography, and was one of the early innovators in silkscreen (serigraphy).
It may be noted that Ms. Helfond's Lansford Pennsylvania Series of drawings, watercolors, and lithographs of the coal mining experience during the Great Depression was a paradigm for the Social Realist genre art movement of the 1930s.
Ms. Helfond's style has developed from the stark realism of the Depression years to her present-day lyrical color abstractions in oils, often inspired by her travels in Greece and France, where she does watercolors from nature and later paints her more abstract works from these images. In addition to the artist's media noted above, she also works in the print media of embossing, intaglio, and collagraph.
Ms. Helfond's works are in the Smithsonian Archives of American Art and in many museums and private collections, and have been exhibited in numerous solo shows and special group events, earning many prizes. Most recently she received the Award of Excellence of the Society of American Graphic Artists for Outstanding Collagraph (1986) and Monotype (1991). Two of her silkscreens were purchased in 1991 by the Boston Museum of Fine Arts for its American silkscreen print collection. In 1996, the Metropolitan Museum of Art purchased the silkscreen Purple Turban. Ms. Helfond is listed in Who's Who in American Art and other compendia of noted artists.
Regina Stewart, Executive Director