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Heldner (Knute A.) Papers

(Mss. 3650)


Summary

Biographical/Historical Note

Scope and Content Note

Series and Subseries Descriptions

Index Terms

Container List

 

Summary

Size: 2.5 linear feet.

Geographic locations: Louisiana, Minnesota, New York, Sweden, France.

Inclusive dates: 1924-1978.

Bulk dates: 1924-1938.

Languages: English, Swedish, Dutch, French.

Summary: Correspondence, printed items, manuscripts, photographs, and pencil drawings of Knute Heldner, a Swedish painter and woodcarver who kept a residence in New Orleans from the late twenties until his death in 1952. Some papers from an unknown individual's research on Heldner and chapters from a book on Heldner are included. The majority of papers consist of Heldner's reflective writings on the values of art, artists, and culture.

Citation: Heldner (Knute A.) Papers, Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections, LSU Libraries, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Biographical/Historical Note

Knute Heldner (1886-1952) born in Vederslov Smoland, Sweden was a painter and woodcarver who spent the latter part of his professional career in New Orleans, Louisiana gaining national and international recognition for his Louisiana landscapes. He received early formal training at Karlskrona Technical School and the National Royal Academy of Stockholm. Heldner immigrated to the United States ca. 1902, arriving first in Boston and moving later to the Great Lakes region. He held a variety of jobs such as miner, cobbler and lumber camp cook in Minnesota and continued his art education at the Minneapolis School of Fine Art. His early art work focused on the manual labor of mining and lumbering in paintings titled "Veterans of the Mines" and "The Lumberjacks". His later work in Southern landscapes including "The Cotton Pickers" retained a subject interest in the physicality of work.

He first exhibited his art work ca. 1915, when he entered a painting in a Minnesota State Fair competition and won the Gold Medal. In the mid-twenties, Heldner began spending his winters in New Orleans where he painted Vieux Carre scenes and Louisiana landscapes. In the summers, he returned to Duluth, Minnesota. He was an active member of local art communities in both New Orleans and Duluth. In New Orleans, he joined the Southern States Art Union organized by Ellsworth Woodward and was a charter member of the New Orleans Art League. The Art Association of New Orleans hung Heldner's first one-man show at the Isaac Delgado Museum of Art in 1926. He also taught painting at the New Orleans Art School established by the Arts and Crafts Club of New Orleans.

Heldner continued to study art through the twenties and thirties at the Chicago Art Institute, the Academy of Scandinavian Art in Paris, and under the direction of artists David Erickson, Dispieu and others. In 1926, he won highest honors at the Swedish-American Art Exhibition in Chicago, and in 1932 he held one-man shows at the Salon d'Automne in Paris, a gallery in Stockholm, and the Arts and Crafts Club of New Orleans Gallery. In the thirties, Heldner participated in the Workers Progress Administration Federal Art Project in Louisiana continuing to paint landscapes as well as portraits. The New Orleans Assembly of Delphians purchased a Heldner painting "Petit Vernon" and donated it to the Isaac Delgado Museum in 1937. His paintings also hang in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian Institute, the White House, and the Luxembourg Museum in Paris.

Heldner married Colette Pope and had two children, Paulette and Franz. He died in New Orleans in 1952.

Scope and Content Note

Correspondence, printed items, photographs and manuscripts from 1924 to 1978 reflect the artistic and intellectual life of Knute August Heldner, a Swedish painter who resided in New Orleans from the twenties until his death in 1952. The largest series of the collection consists of manuscript writings by Heldner. His writings pertain to views on art; modern art; art appreciation; modern architecture and culture in American cities; the artist's role in society; distinctions between business mores and cultural, artistic values; the creative spirit; the New Orleans art community of the Depression era; and Heldner's advice to artists in essays and speeches such as "Three Hundred Don'ts in Art." Heldner's prolific writings also document his own life in informal memoirs "An American Short Cut Biography." Also included in the series is an extensive manuscript draft of an unpublished novel written by Heldner. Correspondence documents artistic activity including exhibitions, sales and competition adjudication in New Orleans, Baton Rouge, St. Louis, Chicago, Minnesota, Sweden, and Paris. Letters in Swedish appear to be correspondence from Heldner to family members. Printed items include newspaper clippings from Louisiana, Minnesota, and Sweden concerning Heldner exhibits and paintings, exhibition catalogs, and typescripts with biographical information. Other typescripts are written by Heldner including "A Treatise on Art." The printed series also holds a typescript draft of chapters from a biographical work on Heldner by Evans Casso. The graphic series contains photographs of Heldner and several paintings, and it includes sketches and drawings, reproductions of paintings and dry points, and two prints.

Series and Subseries Descriptions

  1. Correspondence, 1925-1978 (.25 linear feet)


Early correspondence documents Heldner's involvement in the artistic life of New Orleans and Minnesota and pertains to his activities including international exhibitions, art education, art associations, and the Louisiana WPA Federal Art Project. Other correspondence is between family and friends, and several letters are written in Swedish. Letters (1978) pertain to research on Heldner for a posthumous exhibit.
 

  1. Printed Material, 1924-1978 (.25 linear feet)


Printed items consist primarily of newspaper clippings from New Orleans, Minnesota and Stockholm papers. Most articles discuss and review Heldner's art work and particular exhibits. Also included are an article Heldner wrote for the New Orleans Morning Tribune and a biographical piece following his death in the Times-Picayune. The printed series contains typescripts with biographical information, incomplete typescript drafts of a book about Heldner, and typescripts of Heldner's own writings including "Three Hundred Don'ts in Art" and "Treatise on Art." Other printed items document art association memberships and exhibits.
 

  1. Writings, n.d. (1.5 linear feet)


Manuscripts include two volumes, contents of notebooks, and loose, unbound documents which record Heldner's reflections, memoirs, and formal essays and lectures. The majority of Heldner's manuscript material pertains to art and the artist. An unprocessed manuscript draft seems to be an autobiographical novel.
 

  1. Graphic Material, n.d. (.5 linear feet)
    • Subseries 1. Photographs, n.d. (.25 linear feet)


Summary: Subseries contains photographs showing Heldner alone in New Orleans and [Minnesota] and with Josephine Crawford at a Vieux Carre street fair. Also included are photographic reproductions of Heldner paintings.
 

    • Subseries 2. Drawings/Sketches, n.d. (.25 linear feet)


Summary: Subseries contains informal sketches completed by Heldner. Some drawings are interspersed with manuscript material. Several sketches appear to be studies for paintings. Other graphic material includes two Heldner prints, Heldner dry points printed on post cards and printed reproductions of Heldner paintings.

Index Terms

Heldner, Knute, 1886-1952                          
Crawford, Josephine                              
Stockholm (Sweden)                                
New Orleans (La.)                                
Baton Rouge (La.)                                
Duluth (Minn.)                              
Paris (France)                                   
New York (N.Y.)                                   
St. Louis (Mich.)                                 
Chicago (Ill.)                                    
Painting, American                                
Art, American                                
Art, Modern--20th century--United States                   
Artists                                         &n
 
bsp; 
Art Appreciation                                 
Landscape Painting, American                      
Isaac Delgado Museum of Art                      
Arts and Crafts Club of New Orleans                    
New Orleans (La.)--Social Life and Customs             
Letters                                      
Manuscripts                                      
Photoprints                                     
Sketches

Container List

SHELF        BOX    FOLDER     DESCRIPTION
         SERIES I.   Correspondence
 
48:22          1    1         Professional letters to Knute Heldner
                              (1925-1932) from Illinois Conference
                              Brotherhood, F. Weber Co., Galerie
                              Montparnasse, The Arts and Crafts Club
                              of New Orleans, City Art Museum of St.
                              Louis, La Revue Moderne, Societe D'Automne,
                              Art Institute of Chicago.
 
               1    2         Professional and personal letters to Knute
                              Heldner (1933-1939) from Art Institute of
                              Chicago, [Joseph] Wilner (Duluth,
                              Minnesota), Superior Public Library 
                              (Wisconsin), Gideon Stanton (Louisiana
                              Director of Federal Art Project), Ellsworth
                              Woodward (Art Association of New Orleans),
                              Amos Lee Armstrong (Louisiana State Art
                              Committee).  Letters from Heldner
                              (1938-1939) to friends Peter and Elias.
 
               1    3         Professional and personal letters (1941,
                              n.d.) to Knute Heldner from Augsburg
                              Publishing House (Minneapolis), unsigned,
                              and Nellie B. McKindley. One letter (1978)
                              Howard A. Buechner to Mr. Boyce.
 
               1    4         Personal letters (1938, 1978, n.d.) from
                              Heldner to family and friends.
 
               1    5         Personal letters in Swedish (1943, n.d.) from
                              Heldner (probably to family).
 
               1    6         Manuscript transcriptions of Heldner
                              letters (1926-1928).  Letters from F.W.
                              Weber Inc., Charles Bien, Samuel  L. Sherer
                              (City Art Museum of St. Louis).
 
48:22          1    7         Manuscript transcriptions of Heldner
                              letters (1933, 1939, n.d.).  Letters to
                              Knute Heldner from the Art Institute of
                              Chicago, Amos Lee Armstrong, [Joseph]
                              Wilner. 
 
               1    8         Typescripts (n.d.) concerning biographical
                              information on Heldner including the summary of a
                              1938 interview and transcription of "The Legacy of
                              Knute Heldner," memorial article in Dixie
                              Magazine-Times Picayune on Dec. 7, 1952.
 
               1    9         Manuscript notes (n.d.) concerning biographical
                              information on Heldner including awards,
                              association memberships, excerpts from newspaper
                              articles.
 
               1    10        Typescript excerpts of a biographical manuscript on
                              Heldner by Evans Casso concerning marriage to
                              Colette Pope, friendship with Monsignor Armand
                              Kerlec, and woodcarving. 
 
               1    11        Typescript  copy (ca. 1939) of "Treatise on Art" by
                              Heldner.
 
               1    12        Typescript copy with manuscript notes (n.d.) of
                              "Three Hundred Don'ts in Art" by Heldner.
 
               1    13        Manuscript transcriptions of newspaper articles and
                              citations to other articles (1925-1977) about
                              Heldner.  Citations reference Milwaukee, Duluth,
                              New Orleans, St. Paul, and Baton Rouge
                              periodicals.
 
 
48:22          1    14        Newspaper clippings (1926-1966) from New
                              Orleans papers concerning Heldner, art exhibits,
                              artists, art, Delgado Museum, New Orleans Art
                              League, Heldner's writing, and Achille Peretti  
                              Includes an article written by Heldner for New
                              Orleans Morning Tribune (2-1-28) titled "Methods
                              Vary But Essence of Art--Never!"
 
               1    15        Newspaper clippings (1952) Heldner obituary.
 
               1    16        Newspaper clipping (12-8-52) "The Legacy of
                              Knute Heldner" in New Orleans Times Picayune.
 
               1    17        Newspaper clippings (n.d.) from New Orleans
                              papers concerning Heldner, Vieux Carre artists,
                              Benjamin Prize, New Orleans Art League, Delgado, 
 
               1    18        Newspaper clippings (1924-1937, n.d.) from
                              Duluth, Minneapolis and St. Paul papers concerning
                              Heldner, exhibits, awards, woodcarving, city
                              beautification and planning, 
 
               1    19        Newspaper clippings (1931, n.d.) from Swedish
                              papers concerning Heldner.
 
               1    20        Newspaper clippings (1953-1962, n.d.) Heldner art
                              exhibit, 12th Annual Louisiana State Art Exhibition,
                              American Art Week,  
 
               1    21        Printed material: Post card (n.d.); The Arts and
                              Crafts Review (1932); 19th annual Swedish
                              American Exhibit conditions of entry brochure
                              (1938); Memorial Exhibition catalog (1953).
 
48:22          1    22        Exhibition catalog: Paul Van Ryzin at Tweed
                              Gallery (1969).
 
               1    23        Photocopy of Isaac Monroe Cline's Contemporary
                              Art and Artists in New Orleans (Reprinted from
                              Biennial Report, Board of Curators, Louisiana State
                              Museum, January, 1924); photocopies of
                              photographic reproductions of Heldner paintings
                              (n.d.); Minnesota Artist (Published by the
                              Minnesota Artists' Union.  V. 1 No. 1 November
                              1938); The Wnbsp;                            W.J. Warrington.  V. 11 No. 7 February 1933).
 
               1    24        Brochure of Layton School of Art (1924);
                              exhibition catalogs and announcements (1926-1964,
                              n.d.); association membership cards (1930, 1933).
 
               1    25        Photocopies of 2 pages from Heldner scrapbook
                              (n.d.)
 
                          SERIES III.  Writings
 
48:22          2    1         "An American Short Cut Biography" by Heldner
                              (n.d.).
 
               2    2         Miscellaneous drafts of "The Fifth Wheel" by
                              Heldner (n.d.). 
 
               2    3         Miscellaneous manuscript notes by Heldner
                              concerning form for form's sake (n.d.).
 
48:22          2    4         Miscellaneous manuscript notes by Heldner
                              concerning the history of landscape painting (n.d.).
 
               2    5         Manuscripts by Heldner (n.d.) "Modern Painting,"
                              "Art," "Art of Painting."
 
               2    6         Miscellaneous manuscript notes by Heldner
                              concerning Americans as practical people (n.d.).
 
               2    7         Manuscripts by Heldner (n.d.) "Trends," "The Artist
                              and the Community."
 
               2    8         Miscellaneous manuscript notes by Heldner
                              concerning art compared with music; nature and art;
                              too many painters and too few artists (n.d.).
 
               2    9         Miscellaneous manuscript notes by Heldner
                              concerning art appreciation; art education;
                              education; usefulness of art (n.d.).
 
               2    10        Miscellaneous manuscript notes by Heldner
                              concerning art and commercialism; art and the soul 
                              (n.d.).
 
               2    11        Miscellaneous manuscript notes by Heldner
                              concerning art "don'ts"; light and color; artist and
                              teacher; art through education and experience; art as
                              a life force (n.d.).
 
               2    12        Miscellaneous manuscript notes by Heldner
                              concerning art and the public; Theodore Decker 
                              (n.d.).
 
               2    13        Manuscript art reviews (n.d.) by Heldner of New
                              Orleans exhibits.
 
48:22          2    14        Miscellaneous manuscript notes by Heldner
                              concerning artist and businessmen values; money
                              and cultural values; modern architecture (n.d.).
 
               2    15        Miscellaneous manuscript notes by Heldner
                              concerning artists and the "city beautiful" (n.d.).
 
               2    16        Miscellaneous manuscript notes by Heldner
                              concerning the artist as the gauge of a civilization
                              (n.d.).
 
               2    17        Miscellaneous manuscript notes by Heldner
                              concerning creative thinking; the Vieux Carre; and
                              the New Orleans Art School (n.d.).
 
               2    18        Manuscript (n.d.) concerning Knute Heldner at the
                              Salon des Independants de New York.
 
               2    19        Miscellaneous manuscript notes by Heldner
                              concerning literature; psychology in art (n.d.).
 
               2    20        Miscellaneous manuscript memoirs by Heldner
                              (n.d.).
 
               2    21        Miscellaneous manuscript notes by Heldner
                              concerning modern art (n.d.).
 
               2    22        Miscellaneous manuscript notes by Heldner
                              concerning morality; big business; private
                              ownership (n.d.).
 
               2    23        Miscellaneous manuscript notes by Heldner
                              concerning New Orleans; New Orleans artists; New
                              Orleans art (n.d.).
 
48:22          2    24        Miscellaneous manuscript notes by Heldner
                              concerning portrait painting; arrowhead artists; life
                              classes (n.d.).
 
               2    25        Miscellaneous manuscript notes by Heldner
                              concerning religion (n.d.).
 
               2    26        Miscellaneous manuscript notes by Heldner
                              concerning St. Augustine compared to New Orleans
                              (n.d.).
 
               2    27        Miscellaneous manuscript notes by Heldner in
                              Swedish (n.d.).
 
               2    28        Miscellaneous manuscript notes by Heldner
                              concerning theater; statuary; and womanly beauty
                              (n.d.).
 
               2    29        Miscellaneous manuscript notes by Heldner
                              concerning war; individuality; the "savage"; leaders
                              and doctors (n.d.).
 
               2    30        Manuscript by Heldner (n.d.) "Spokattan: A
                              Christmas Story."
 
               2    31        Miscellaneous manuscripts by Heldner (n.d.):
                              unprocessed, incomplete fictional pieces.
 
               2    32        Manuscript notebook (n.d.) of Heldner concerning
                              art and cultural background.
 
               2    33        Manuscript notebook (n.d.) of Heldner, "Art is the
                              beginning of all things good..."
 
48:22          2    34        Manuscript notebook (n.d.) of Heldner,
                              "Art" cont.
 
               2    35        Manuscript notebook (n.d.) of Heldner.  Speech on
                              history of art and reflections on art criticism.
 
               3    1-32      Original manuscripts for the copies contained in
                              Box 2.
 
               4    1         Manuscript notebook (n.d.) of Heldner.  Reflections
                              on art; business; right and wrong, 
 
               4    2         Manuscript notebooks (n.d.) of Heldner. 
                              Reflections on Artists' Congress and art
                              appreciation.
 
               4    3         Manuscript notebooks (n.d.) of Heldner. 
                              Reflections on American painting and contents of a
                              speech.
 
               4    4-7       Original manuscript notebooks for the copies
                              contained in Box 2 Folders 32-35.
 
               4    V. 1      Bound manuscript volume (n.d.) of Heldner. 
                              Reflections on God and man; the Bible; and art.
 
               4    V. 2      Bound manuscript volume (n.d.) of Heldner. 
                              Reflections on art; education; art appreciation.
 
               7              Unprocessed manuscript draft of Heldner novel
                              [autobiographical?].
 
 
                      SERIES IV.  Graphic Material
 
48:22          5    1         Photographic reproduction of a Heldner painting
                              (n.d.).
 
               5    2         Photographs of Heldner (n.d.) and photographic
                              reproduction of a painting (probably a Heldner).
 
               5    3         Photograph of New Orleans Street Fair (1933). 
                              Pictured are Knute Heldner and Josephine
                              Crawford.
 
               5    4         Photograph of Heldner and others in studio (1927).
 
               5    5         Photograph of Heldner painting "The Cotton
                              Pickers" exhibited at the Chicago World's Fair
                              (1933).
 
               5    6         Photographic reproduction of Heldner painting
                              (n.d.); Photographs of Heldner at an outdoor exhibit
                              (n.d.) and at the Minnesota State Fair (1932).
 
               6    1-3       Heldner drawings and sketches (n.d.).
 
               6    4         Heldner dry points reproduced on post cards (n.d.).
 
               6    5         Heldner print (n.d.) "Clipper Ship".
 
               6    6         Heldner print (n.d.) with manuscript notes on verso
                              written by Heldner to a friend.
 
               6    7         Heldner sketch (n.d.) with manuscript notes by
                              Heldner.
 
               6    8-9       Reproductions of Heldner paintings (n.d.).