Helena Sturtevant (1872-1946)

Impressionist painter, muralist, teacher, etcher and illustrator Helena Sturtevant was born in Middletown, Rhode Island in 1871. She studied at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts School with Edmund Tarbell and in Paris at the Academy Colarossi with Blanche and Lucien Simon and at the Académie de la Grande Chaumiêre. The artist maintained a studio on the grounds of her mother’s estate, “Marinden,” on Second Beach Road (now Purgatory Road) in Middletown. She painted landscape, architectural, figure, portrait and marine subjects, mainly in Middletown, Portsmouth and Newport, but also scenes from her travels in Europe. She was especially interested in recording the colonial buildings of Newport and the competitors in the International Cup Races. For nearly thirty-five years she directed the School of the Art Association of Newport, of which she was one of the founders in 1912 along with her sister Louisa, a watercolorist and designer for Tiffany Studios who also had a studio on Second Beach Road. The other artist founders were: Elijah Baxter, Charles Biesel, John Elliott, William Sergeant Kendall, Albert Sterner, and Leslie Thompson. The Art Association (now the Newport Art Museum) was modeled on the French atelier system, inspired by the Sturtevant sisters’ studies abroad. Its first headquarters were located on Church Street in Newport in the building that had been the studio of William Morris Hunt. Helena was a member of the American Artists’ Professional League; the National Association of Women Painters and Sculptors; and the College Art Association. Her work was exhibited at: the New York World’s Fair and the Golden Gate World Exposition in 1939; the Copley Gallery, Boston; the Newport Art Association; Brown University; the Thomas J. Watson Gallery of Arts and Sciences;the National Academy of Design; the Brooklyn Society of Etchers; the Art Institute of Chicago; and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. In 1932 the artist exhibited two etchings of Aquidneck Island scenes at the Paris Salon. In 1936 Sturtevant published a selection of poetry by George Berkley, Henry W. Longfellow, Bret Harte, Henry Theodore Tuckerman, Julia Ward Howe, John Jerome Rooney, S. Weir Mitchell, Charles Collinds Van Zandt, Latta Griswold, and Alan Seegar that she illustrated, titled “Old Newport Verse.” That same year, Sturtevant painted an altarpiece triptych for St. Columba’s Chapel, Middletown. The artist painted murals for many private homes in the Newport area. Her work can also be seen in Newport City Hall, the Newport Art Museum and in the New York Public Library. She died in Newport in 1946.

Portrait of a Young Girl with Book 1902

by Helena Sturtevant (1872-1946)

Medium DetailOil on canvas
Dimensions31 x 22 inches; Framed: 37 ½ x 28 inches
Signed LocationSigned and dated, lower right
Date Created1902

Printable version
View additional works by Helena Sturtevant