It is with a heavy hard that I tell you that American artist Helen LaFrance passed away peacefully in her sleep November 22nd. Her obituary has been published in newspapers around the country. Last November 2019, Helen celebrated her 100th birthday with friends, family and patrons of her work who traveled from as far as Nashville and Memphis to visit with her. Guests visited two churches that Helen went to, and watched a screening of the 2019 award-winning documentary Helen LaFrance Memories about her life and her art.
Over the years, starting in 1995, I've come to know the kind and generous and talented Helen LaFrance. I've written about her in articles and books, Outsider Art of The South and Helen LaFrance Folk Art Memories, and I may have sold you one of her paintings. For those of you who don't know of her, by now you should have. She had the rare ability to connect with people emotionally through her art. She also made wood carvings, quilted and created a series of visionary paintings. Please read her obituary and learn a little more about her on this blog and on my website www.justlookingantiques.com.
Helen LaFrance was a Black contemporary American artist who witnessed a century of our country's life and who painted her truth and her memories. She was content whenever she was holding a paint brush which, as she'd told me many times, "when I'm not eating or sleeping, I'm painting." Sleep well, Helen.