Larry Stanfel | Uncompromising Souls

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

Books & Writers
Art and Anarchy

Retired professor Larry Stanfel of Roundup has written a detailed biography of artist Helen West Heller and her eccentric husband, Roger. It chronicles her twin circuits of Chicago and New York, the first, unsuccessful sorties to find a career in the arts; her Anarchist involvement and her success as a woodblock printmaker and poet.

It also explores the life of her second husband, 16 years her junior, who was considered a polymath genius; their seven years together on her family’s farm in western Illinois; and her subsequent abandonment of him to assault the art world a second time.

Heller was a premiere woodcut artist in Chicago from 1921-1932; executed prize-winning but poorly rewarded work in New York City thereafter, where she died alone and on welfare in 1955. The book has 65 illustrations and an annotated text with much background on the couple’s personal and working lives.

In addition, Stanfel published The Complete Poetry of Helen West Heller, which is illustrated with selections of her art. She published more than 100 poems between 1899 and 1927, some in the leading literary journals of that time.

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