Helen Torr was known by her nickname “Reds” due to the color of her hair, as seen in this self-portrait. This is one of the few figural works by this artist, as she mainly dedicated herself to abstract views of nature. Largely overlooked, Torr was unfairly viewed as derivative of artists such as Arthur Dove, her husband, and her friend, Georgia O’Keeffe. Yet, her subtle approach to brushwork and her masterful use of color is unique. She did not sell a work of art or participate in more than two group exhibitions during her life.
Torr worked alongside Dove, who received far more attention and acclaim. The two supported each other’s careers and drew inspiration from one another. Their shared practice is documented in Torr’s diary, which records this painting on Tuesday, January 1, 1935: “Arthur finished painting ‘Holbrooks Bridge.’ I finished self portrait.”
women; women artists; self-portraits
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