Standing Figure

Artist: Jean Hélion (French, Couterne 1904–1987 Paris)

Date: 1936

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 57 1/2 x 44 7/8 in. (146.1 x 114 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Gift of The Joseph Cantor Foundation, 1982

Accession Number: 1982.148.1

Rights and Reproduction: © 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York


French-born artist Jean Hélion painted Standing Figure at a time when he was a central proponent of nonrepresentational art in the United States. In 1936, Hélion was a founding member of the American Abstract Artists group, which counted among its members Willem de Kooning. In this painting the body is interpreted in curved forms and shaded in tones of gray that resemble the metallic parts of a machine. Hélion’s depiction of the human figure is inspired by the quick-paced life of the city streets and the presence of new technology in urban settings.