Helen Phillips began her career as a sculptor, learning techniques of direct stone carving from her mentor and teacher Ralph Stackpole while studying at the California School of Fine Arts in the early 1930s. She moved to Paris in 1936 and began experimenting with intaglio printmaking at the Atelier 17 finding a symbiotic relationship between the engraved line in her prints and the carving and manipulation of shape in her sculptures.
Throughout her impressive career, she continued to use printmaking and drawing to further develop her sculptures and vice versa. By the 1950s she had moved back to Paris after spending the war years in NYC and began spending her summers in a recently purchased country house in the small town of Alba-la-Romaine in the Ardèche region of southeast France. Here she began carving with wood for the first time and created many impressive, large-scale totems and animal-human hybrid forms. These two drawings relate to her sculptures made during this period and illustrate how the artist used one medium to enforce the other.
We are pleased to offer these large, powerful drawings which demonstrate Phillips’s gifts for visualizing form in both two and three dimensions.