Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Helen LaFrance, Folk Artist of Rural Kentucky, Dies at 101

By Penelope Green

The self-taught artist Helen LaFrance at her 100th birthday party last year. “If I do something somebody likes, well, I’m satisfied,” she once said, “but I don’t think it’s important.” Bruce Shelton, via Associated Press
Helen LaFrance, a self-taught artist whose vibrant and intimate “memory paintings” of scenes from her childhood in rural Kentucky brought her renown late in life, died on Nov. 22 at a nursing home in Mayfield, Ky. She was 101. Her vibrant “memory paintings,” which drew comparisons to the work of Grandma Moses and other regional artists, brought her renown late in life. The author Kathy Moses Shelton, who, with the gallerist Bruce Shelton wrote “Helen LaFrance: Folk Art Memories” (2011), called Ms. LaFrance “an American treasure.”[More]

Ms. LaFrance’s “Sunday Supper" (1997). For her, painting was a way of reliving a happy childhood. Bruce Shelton/Shelton Gallery