Helen Phillips was born 1913, Fresno, California. She was an American sculptor and print maker and she studied at the School of Fine Art in San Francisco and learned direct carving techniques from Ralph Stackpole, who introduced her to Diego Rivera. However, Phillips was more excited by Oceanic and Pre-Columbian art than Social Realism.
Phillips won Phelan Traveling Fellowship which allowed her to work in Paris in 1936. There, she entered Atelier 17, the intaglio print workshop where she met its founder and her future husband, Stanley William Hayter.
Learning to engrave copper in Paris had an important impact on the development of her sculpture, forcing her to become conscious of negative space. She fled to New York in 1939 and became a pioneer of the New York School, exhibiting with Wilfredo Lam, Roberto Matta, David Hare, Isamu Noguchi and Arshile Gorky.
Phillips's sculpture and intaglio prints are in these museum collections:
Albright Knox Gallery
Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Dallas Museum of Art
Smithsonian American Art Museum
San Diego Museum of Art
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
Museum of Modern Art, New York Library of Congress
DeYoung Museum, San Francisco
Palmer Museum of Art
Princeton University Art Museum
Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Helen Phillips died in New York in 1995