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Catalog Data

Artist:
Marion H. Beckett, 1886 - 1949  Search this
Sitter:
Theresa Helburn, 12 Jan 1887 - 18 Aug 1959  Search this
Medium:
Oil on canvas
Dimensions:
Accurate: 64 × 60.8 cm (25 3/16 × 23 15/16")
Frame: 73.3 × 70.8 × 4.1 cm (28 7/8 × 27 7/8 × 1 5/8")
Type:
Painting
Date:
1922
Exhibition Label:
AW24 149 words
Theresa Helburn 1887–1959
Born New York City
A formative stay in Paris in 1913–14 set Theresa Helburn on the path to revitalizing American theater. She attended the city’s most progressive theatrical productions and took dance lessons with Isadora Duncan. She cultivated a friendship with Gertrude Stein and tried hard “to convince myself that I was a part of the modern art movement, as I believed I ought to be.”
In 1919, Helburn cofounded the innovative Theatre Guild of New York, where she oversaw such groundbreaking productions as Mourning Becomes Electra (1931–32), Porgy and Bess (1935–36), Oklahoma! (1943–48), and The Iceman Cometh (1945–47). She also indulged her passion for French theater, “even when we had failed several times to make American audiences savor French irony.”
Marion Beckett’s portrait conveys the authoritative composure for which Helburn was known. Set against the swirling red background, her cool, blue-gray figure radiates an aura of calm.
Nacida en la ciudad de Nueva York
Una estancia formativa en París entre 1913 y 1914 encaminó a Theresa Helburn a revitalizar el teatro estadounidense. Asistió a las producciones teatrales más progresistas y tomó lecciones de danza con Isadora Duncan. Entabló amistad con Gertrude Stein y trató de “creer que formaba parte del movimiento del arte moderno, según pensaba que debía ser”.
En 1919 Helburn cofundó la innovadora Theatre Guild de Nueva York, donde supervisó obras tan renovadoras como A Electra le sienta bien el luto (1931–32), Porgy y Bess (1935–36), Oklahoma! (1943–48) y Aquí está el vendedor de hielo (1945–47).
También se entregó a su pasión por el teatro francés, “aun tras varios intentos fallidos de hacer disfrutar la ironía francesa al público estadounidense”.
Este retrato de Marion Beckett transmite la seguridad y la autoridad típicas de Helburn. Sobre un fondo de arabescos rojos, su figura serena, en tonos de azul y gris, irradia un aura de calma.
Provenance:
Larry Aldrich, New York; gift 1973 to NPG
Aldrich wrote that he inherited the painting. Letter to Marvin Sadik, 17 September 1973
Topic:
Theresa Helburn: Female  Search this
Theresa Helburn: Literature\Writer  Search this
Theresa Helburn: Performing Arts\Performing arts director\Theater director  Search this
Theresa Helburn: Performing Arts\Producer\Theater producer  Search this
Theresa Helburn: Performing Arts\Producer\Impresario  Search this
Theresa Helburn: Business and Finance\Businessperson\Business executive\Entertainment executive\Theater executive  Search this
Portrait  Search this
Credit Line:
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Larry Aldrich
Object number:
NPG.73.30
Restrictions & Rights:
CC0
See more items in:
National Portrait Gallery Collection
Exhibition:
Brilliant Exiles: American Women in Paris, 1900-1939
On View:
NPG, West Gallery 240
Data Source:
National Portrait Gallery
GUID:
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/sm4ccad1f45-b175-40a3-9e7f-a3ee91a35b4d
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:npg_NPG.73.30