Born June 24 in Chicago, IL to second–generation Swedish parents.
Family moves to Pasadena, California, where her father works for a real estate and stock brokerage company.
Younger sister Inez Selma is born.
Attends Longfellow Grammar School after having learned to read at home.
Graduates from grammar school; enrolls at Pasadena High School.
Participates in a program conducted by Stanford University entitled “Study of Gifted Children,” which analyzes the characteristics and development of children who ranked in the top 1% in California schools. Follow-up continues through 1945.
1925 - 1927
Graduates high school in June of 1925, but remains at home to aid her sick mother until the Fall of 1927. Reads extensively during this time, including novels, poetry, and travel books. Attends Sunday school and church, primarily for the music and the peaceful ambience.
Begins attending Pasadena City College. Spends an extra semester catching up on Algebra and Geometry, which she had not taken in high school. Enjoys studying both subjects.
Graduates from Pasadena City College in the Spring.
A family friend sponsors her tuition for three months at Stickney Memorial School of Art in Pasadena. Studies with Lawrence Murphy, who teaches Bridgman style figure construction and composition.
Summer. Lorser Feitelson takes over classes for Murphy, and ceases teaching the Bridgman style. Feitelson instead emphasizes discussion and graphic analyses of the structural principles of early and late Renaissance masters as well as Moderns. Lundeberg learns to distinguish art from illustration.
December. Recognition of the Post-Surrealism movement on the East Coast prompts an invitation for Lundeberg, Feitelson and Merrild to participate in the exhibition “Fantastic Art, Dada, Surrealism” at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Lundeberg is represented by her 1935 painting Cosmicide.
Completes two murals in the Los Angeles County Hall of Records for the California Works Progress Administration Federal Art Projects (WPA/FAP).
June. Encouraged by Lorser Feitelson, submits and exhibits her first figure painting entitled Apple Harvest in the “Sixth Annual Exhibition of Southern California Art” at the Fine Arts Gallery of San Diego.
Works as assistant on Feitelson’s murals for Thomas A. Edison High School.
Produces four lithographs at the WPA/FAP Print Division: Enigma, The Planets, Arabesque, and Ruins.
The Mountain is selected for the “Fourteenth Annual Exhibition of Painting and Sculpture” at the Los Angeles Museum.
June. First solo exhibition at the Stanley Rose Gallery on Vine Street in Hollywood.
September. Solo exhibition at the Assistance League of Los Angeles.
December. Exhibits Self-Portrait in the invitational “Exhibition by Progressive Painters of Southern California” at the Fine Arts Gallery of San Diego.
Commissioned to create easel paintings for the Federal Public Works Art Project (PWAP). Relocates to Los Angeles, the headquarters of PWAP.
Becomes involved in the formulation of Feitelson’s theory of New Classicism (a.k.a. Subjective Classicism), later known as Post-Surrealism.
Designs and executes several murals throughout the greater Los Angeles area for the WPA/FAP. Paints oil vignettes on acoustic plaster and petrachrome materials. Select murals are still intact at Los Angeles Patriotic Hall, Venice High School Library, George Washington High School, Canoga Park High School, Fullerton Police Station, and Centinela Park
June. Exhibits first Post-Surrealist painting, Persephone, at the Fine Arts Gallery of San Diego in the “Eighth Annual Southern California Exhibition of Painting and Sculpture.”
November. Along with Feitelson, participates in the first group showing of Post-Surrealist work at the Centaur Gallery in Hollywood.
Authors and publishes first theoretical manifesto entitled “New Classicism.”
A loose association of artists who support the New Classicism movement forms. Members include Lucien Labaudt and Knud Merrild. Later exhibitions include Grace Clements, Philip Guston, and Reuben Kadish.
Executes the mural History of Transportation for the City of Inglewood.
May. Exhibits an important early work entitled Double Portrait of the Artist in Time in “Post-Surrealists and Other Moderns” at the Stanley Rose Gallery on Hollywood Boulevard. The piece ranks as one of her outstanding achievements despite her mere five years of painting experience.
Participates in a group exhibition of Post-Surrealists at the Hollywood Gallery of Modern Art on Hollywood Boulevard.
The Post-Surrealists mount a group exhibition at the San Francisco Museum of Art. The following Spring the exhibition travels to the Brooklyn Museum, marking the first East Coast presentation of Post-Surrealism.
Participates in a group exhibition of Post-Surrealists entitled “Americans 1942: 18 Artists from Nine States” at the Museum of Modern Art of New York.
Begins to paint postcard size paintings, including the Abandoned Easel series, as a reaction to the scale and impersonality of her work executed on mural projects.
Awarded First Purchase Prize for The Clouds in the “Ninth Invitational Purchase Prize Art Exhibition,” sponsored by the Chaffey Community Art Association of California.
1942 - 1958
Continues to explore Post-Surrealism themes in her work, painting landscapes, interiors, and still-lifes that draw from memory, imagination, and observation rather than from reality.
Receives $1000 First Purchase Award for Spring in the “1950 Annual Exhibition: Artists of Los Angeles and Vicinity” at the Los Angeles County Museum.
Executes A Quiet Place, which presages later paintings such as The Road (1958) in which un-modulated geometric areas suggest three-dimensional space and perspective.
Awarded $400 prize for Selma in the “1957 Annual Exhibition: Artists of Los Angeles and Vicinity” at the Los Angeles County Museum.
Work shifts towards depicting “mindscapes.” Increasingly uses flat geometric areas and cast shadows to create spatial environment. Objects such as shells and fruits are depicted three-dimensionally.
Exhibits The Wind That Blew the Sky Away in “The Pittsburgh International Exhibition of Contemporary Painting” at the Carnegie Institute of Pennsylvania.
Exhibits in joint retrospective with Feitelson at Scripps College. The exhibition demarcates major turning points in their respective painting careers, revealing the distinct contrast between the two artists’ work during the period of 1933 to 1958.
Solo retrospective at The Pasadena Art Institute.
Begins series of paintings composed entirely of flat geometric areas that suggest landscapes, interiors, and streets, utilizing the effects of perspective, light, and shadow. The works refer to three-dimensional reality, but their subjects remain ambiguous.
Participates in “Geometric Abstraction in America” at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; an important group exhibition that reaffirms her national recognition.
Executes the first work in her Arches series, introducing curved shapes. Utilizes for the first time white primed canvas as form in compositions.
Continues developing arch motif in her work by rendering arch shapes in black or white to create encapsulated frames within the canvases, exemplified by the works Desert Light and Desert View.
Participates in group exhibition “California Hard-Edge Painting” at the Pavilion Gallery of Balboa California, marking the first official inclusion of her work in the Hard-Edge movement.
Completes one of her most important paintings of the post-1958 period, Triptych. Depicting three thin ribbons of complementary colors that extend across the entire width of three canvases, Triptych is significant because of a shift in color palette from restrained tones to stronger contrasts of value and tonality. Develops a technical innovation of using masking tape to render hard edges, which in turn encourages Feitelson to begin his series of “line” paintings.
After solely using oil paint for thirty-five years, transitions to painting in acrylics with the piece Planet #1. Continues Planet series, returning to the Post-Surrealist subject matter of the cosmos that fascinated her as a student. The works of the series feature a circular “planet” centered on the canvas and surrounded by a solid color, allowing for a variety of pattern variations that suggest rather than model a sphere in space.
Retrospective exhibition of works from 1933 to 1971 at the La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art. Traces the development of works from early paintings based on a Renaissance organizational plan through Post-Surrealist pieces and finally hard-edge works. The paintings are ultimately described as “Classicist” because of the continual emphasis on aesthetic structure.
Lorser Feitelson dies of heart failure on May 24.
Develops second series of small paintings.
Develops a series of land and seascapes based on variations of a single hue, exemplified by works like Blue Calm.
August. Returns to “interiors” and “painting-within-painting” themes with closely related grey tones, such as Grey Interior I and Grey Interior II.
Retrospective exhibition of works from 1933 to 1978 at the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery. Focuses on Lundeberg’s exploration of the dimensions of space in early Post-Surrealist paintings, as well as her more abstract works of the sixties and seventies.
Exhibits in “Nine Senior Southern California Painters,” the opening exhibition of the Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art, mounted as a tribute to artists integral to the historical development of Modernism in Southern California.
Joint retrospective exhibition with Feitelson at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. The show travels to the Frederick S. Wight Art Gallery at UCLA.
Retrospective exhibition “Helen Lundeberg Since 1970” at the Palm Springs Desert Museum.
Honored with the Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Visual Arts by the College Arts Association and Women’s Caucus for Art.
Restoration of the Fullerton Police Station mural History of Southern California.
Tobey C. Moss Gallery of Los Angeles produces documentary entitled “Helen Lundeberg: American Painter.”
Honored with the Vesta Award by the Woman’s Building Art Center of Los Angeles.
Retrospective exhibition of works from 1933 to 1982 at the Graham Gallery of New York.
Solo exhibition entitled “80th: A Birthday Salute to Helen Lundeberg” at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Honored with the Palm Springs Desert Museum’s Woman of the Year Award.
Retrospective exhibition at the Mary Porter Sesnon Art Gallery at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Preservation and conservation interest is raised for the mural History of Transportation in Inglewood.
Honored with an Honorary Doctorate Degree from the Otis-Parsons College of Art.
Honored with a grant from the Richard A. Florsheim Art Fund for American Artists of Merit.
The Venice High School Library opens its doors to the public to view the mural History of California.
Honored with the Purchase Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Dies in Los Angeles on April 19.
Memorial exhibition held at the Tobey C. Moss Gallery of Los Angeles.
May. Memorial exhibition held at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
2000 - 2001
Exhibited in “Made in California” at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Solo exhibition “Helen Lundeberg and the Illusory Landscape” at Louis Stern Fine Arts, West Hollywood.
The J. Paul Getty Grant Program “Preserve L.A.” Initiative awards the City of Inglewood a grant for the restoration and re-siting of the History of Transportation mural.
Rededication of the City of Inglewood’s History of Transportation mural at its new location in Grevillea Art Park, near City Hall.
Solo exhibition “Infinite Distance: Architectural Compositions by Helen Lundeberg” at Louis Stern Fine Arts, West Hollywood.
History of Transportation is accepted into the California Register of Historical Resources.
2007 - 2009
Exhibited in traveling exhibition “Birth of the Cool: California Art, Design and Culture at Mid-Century” at the Orange County Museum of Art, in Newport Beach, Addison Gallery of American Art, Phillips Academy of Andover, Massachusetts, Oakland Museum of California, Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum of St. Louis, Missouri, and The Blanton Museum of Art at University of Texas, Austin.
Additional grant funds for the restoration of History of Transportation are contributed by the California Heritage Fund Grant, the Park Bond 2000 Act, and the Urban Recreational and Cultural Centers (URCC).