A fine oil on wood panel painting of a swirling, flouncing traditional Spanish dancer, signed at upper right with the typical signature, then titled on reverse "Sevillanas" and also "Henka" (the name of the dancer?), and signed there again by the noted American artist HELEN SAWYER (1900-1999). The work measures 13 3/4" by 10 1/4" (19" by 15" framed). The panel at extreme upper left bears a rubber stamp of a gallery or art supply outfit in Paris. The painting likely is an earlier work by Sawyer, probably from about the mid 1930's or even a bit earlier. Sawyer was born into a prominent Washington D.C. family. She spent much time in Spain during her childhood, an experience that no doubt finds expression in this painting. Her father, artist Wells Sawyer, was one of her teachers, as was Charles Webster Hawthorne. After study at the Art Students League and the National Academy of Design, Sawyer and her husband became prominent members of the art community on Cape Cod, eventually opening a school there near Truro. By 1943 they had expanded their efforts in art education to Sarasota, Florida (and the artist's name is still closely associated with the active art community there). Sawyer was made a full National Academician in 1950, and she was a member of numerous art associations in the eastern United States, exhibiting widely. Her art was included in the 1933 Century of Progress exhibition in Chicago and at the 1939 New York World's Fair. In her long life she painted still life, figures, and landscapes of Florida and Massachusetts. This painting, found in Massachusetts, clearly displays her impressionist mastery, even though it could benefit from a cleaning, and the frame is worn and uninspiring. A black or possibly even silvery frame would be complementary. The panel on which the artist painted the work evidently had a generally horizontal depression at top, running through the face (see photo). This is not damage to the painting----it is simply a characteristic of the panel on which she chose to paint that particular day. Overall this is a most attractive work by an accomplished artist whose works have often sold at auction in the northeastern states.
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