An interview of Joseph A. Helman conducted 2010 January 4, by James McElhinney, for the Archives of American Art, at Helman's home in New York, New York.
Helman recalls three major events from his early life--the exhibition "Masterpieces from the Berlin Museums: 1948-1949," the film "Lust for Life," and collecting--that led to his career as an art dealer; buying his first painting, which was a Jasper Johns work; meeting the art dealer Leo Castelli; opening his first gallery in St. Louis in 1969; selling his gallery to Ronald Greenberg and moving to Italy with his family; attending the Sotheby's auction of the Robert C. Scull Collection in 1973; teaming up with Irving Blum to open the Blum Helman Gallery in New York City; organizing exhibitions of established and emerging artists. Helman speaks about his relationship with Emily Rauh Pulitzer and the St. Louis Art Museum; his Happening with Allan Kaprow; the story behind Claes Oldenburg's drawing Tongue Cloud, over St. Louis, 1975; discovering the work of Ralston Crawford; introducing American art to Spain. In addition, Helman discusses the contemporary art market; collectors and the process of collecting; and the redefinition of Pop art to include British and American artists of the 1980s. Throughout the interview Helman mentions the various artists he has represented, exhibited or collected such as Richard Serra, Robert Rauschenberg, Josef Albers, Roy Lichtenstein, Ellsworth Kelly, Andy Warhol, Frank Stella, Ronald Davis, and Bryan Hunt.
Biographical / Historical:
Joseph A. Helman (1937- ) is an art dealer and collector in New York, New York.
Originally recorded on 1 sound disc. Reformatted in 2010 as 4 digital wav files. Duration is 2 hr.,19 min.
This interview is part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and administrators.
Art dealers -- New York (State) -- New York -- Interviews Search this
Art -- Collectors and collecting -- New York (State) -- New York -- Interviews Search this
Art today presents American masters of the sixties and seventies : selections from the collection of Jan and Ronald K. Greenberg, Brooks Memorial Art Gallery, Memphis, Tennessee, December 9-28, 1978 / essays by Lynda Ireland ... [et al.] ; edited by Gary Witt