Uncompromising Souls

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About the author:

Larry Stanfel, a professor emeritus at the University of Alabama, earned his PhD from Northwestern University. Twice the winner of competitive postdoctoral fellowships for research abroad, he has been listed in Who’s Who in America and was selected for a number of honorary fraternities. He has worked frequently as a consultant to government and private businesses and has been an invited speaker around the world. Presently he and his artist wife, Jane, live on a small ranch in Montana.

He has published three previous books and around eighty articles, most of them peer-reviewed, and several of his poems and stories have appeared in web journals, including a prize-winning story in Enchanted Conversation. He also writes novels, plays, and song lyrics.

Stanfel spent twelve years exhaustively researching the lives and work of Helen West Heller and her husband, Roger, and is considered the world’s leading authority on the pair. His book Uncompromising Souls is a biography of the artist and her eccentric husband.

Uncompromising Souls

The Lives and Work of Artist Helen West Heller and Husband Roger

Authored by Larry Stanfel

She may not be a household name, but Helen West Heller was a pioneering artist—possibly the finest woodcut artist the United States has ever produced.

Born a poor Midwestern farm girl in 1872, Helen was determined to live the life of an artist. At the Ferrer Center and Modern School in New York City in 1912, after struggling for decades to support herself with her drawings, paintings, and poetry, she met the enigmatic Roger Paul Heller, a brilliant yet inept electrical engineer sixteen years her junior. With classmates that included the likes of Leon Trotsky and Emanuel Rabinowitz (a.k.a., Man Ray), the anarchist institute attracted many of the period’s most prominent radicals.

Helen would later become a fixture of Chicago’s modernist art scene, gaining exposure and respect, but not financial success. Her ingenuity and creativity shined brightest here as she brought the medium of woodcutting out of the realm of illustrating and into its own as an expressive art form.

As this fascinating in-depth biography illuminates the life and work of this little-known national treasure, Uncompromising Souls also examines the life of the artist’s eccentric husband while shedding light on an intriguing chapter of America’s story.

Publication Date:
1503034844 / 9781503034846
Page Count:
Binding Type:
US Trade Paper
Trim Size:
8" x 10"
Full Color
Related Categories:
Biography & Autobiography / Artists, Architects, Photographers

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