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Helen Boyd Keen papers, 1936-1986

Keen, Helen Boyd, b. 1899-



Collection Information

Size: 1.4 Linear feet

Summary: Letters, writings, a sketchbook, a scrapbook, art work and printed material relating to Keen and to her teacher, painter Mark Tobey.
Included are letters received; files on artists, friends, and others, containing letters, printed material and photographs, 1948-1978, including Tobey (41 letters, 1938-1969), Mario Bambagini, Phyllis Cummins, Frederick Dockstader, Jonathan Gibson, Colin Graham, Mildred Johnstone, Mary Kennedy, Sally Lewis, Dr. E.A. Lowe, Barbara Morgan, Ben Nicholson, Nancy Wilson Ross, Walter Starcke, Lynne Thompson, and Vaclav Vytlacil; two notebooks kept by Keen regarding her lessons under Tobey, 1936-1945; Keen's essays "The Lesson Days," 1976, and "Searchings," 1977; Tobey's notes on his approach to painting, undated; a sketchbbook, 1947, containing sketches, notes on Keen's Art Students League calligraphy class, and writings by Eduard Corvin, Isak Dinesen, and D.T. Suzuki;
a scrapbook containing reviews of Keen's work, exhibition announcements, and photographs of Keen, her friends, and an installation; photographs of Tobey, his home in Switzerland, and of work by Tobey and by Keen; and printed material, including exhibition announcments and catalogs, clippings, brochures, and reproductions regarding Tobey, Keen, and the Annie Wright School, Tacoma, Wash.

Biographical/Historical Note

Painter; New York, N.Y. Keen received her early schooling at the Annie Wright School in Tacoma, Wash., where her father was a trustee for over twenty years. Beginning in the mid-1930s, she studied under Mark Tobey for ten years, and at the Art Students League under Corbino, Hale, and Vytlacil.


Donated 1975-1984 by Helen Boyd Keen.

How to Use This Collection

Restrictions on Access

Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.

How to Cite This Collection

Helen Boyd Keen papers, 1936-1986. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.