In Memoriam: Philadelphia artist, fine art specialist Helene Stephenson, 95

Helene Ruth Stephenson

Artist and fine art specialist Helene Ruth Stephenson (1926-2022). Image provided by the Stephenson family

PHILADELPHIA – Noted Philadelphia artist and fine art specialist Helene Ruth Stephenson has died at the age of 95. She passed away peacefully on June 16 at her home in Huntingdon Valley, Pa., surrounded by family.

Formally trained, Stephenson studied design at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Philadelphia College of Art (now the University of the Arts). She later studied painting under Elizabeth Davis Wolpert and Hobson Pittman.

Her style as an artist evolved from realism in her early years to abstract landscapes

based on representation and symbolism. As an abstractionist, she was partial to subject matter that reflected various forms in nature, especially oceans.

She exhibited at the James Michener Museum, the Allentown Museum, the Pennsylvania State Museum, and Woodmere Art Museum. Her work is held in the permanent collections of the latter two institutions, as well as those of school districts, hospitals and major corporations. Stephenson also exhibited internationally at various museums and universities. Her work is represented in the permanent holdings of Bryn Mawr College, and the Hobson Pittman Memorial Gallery in Tarboro, North Carolina.

Helene Ruth Stephenson

Helene Ruth Stephenson (1926-2022), ‘Migration’

Helene Stephenson was included in the “Top 100 Philadelphia Women Artists” in the late 1980s, and participated in the group exhibition “Fifty Invited Artists at the Philadelphia Sketch Club” and the 1993 American College exhibition “8 Abstract Artists.” She won “Best of Show” at Phillips’ Mill and the top prize at Woodmere Art Museum. Additionally, she was one of the artists selected to be featured in the 2005 hardbound volume Phillips’ Mill Celebrating Seventy-five Years of Art. Stephenson was a member of the Philadelphia Water Color Society and remained active in her art studio until March of this year.

Many in the fine art world knew Helene from her association with the family business, Stephenson’s Auction in Southampton (Bucks County), Pennsylvania. As the company’s art specialist, she assessed and cataloged incoming artworks prior to their sale and also arranged the art for public inspection.

Helene Ruth Stephenson

Helene Ruth Stephenson (1926-2022), ‘Untitled’

In her free time, Stephenson enjoyed gardening. She was a member of the American Begonia Society.

Lovingly married to her husband, Robert, for 74 years, she was mother to John Stephenson (Maria White), Wayne Stephenson (Nancy), and Cindy Stephenson; and was both a grandmother and great-grandmother.

A private service was held, and a memorial gathering is planned for August 6, which would have been Helene’s 96th birthday. Those who wish to offer condolences or share fond memories with the Stephenson family may do so online at www.wrgrantfuneralhome.com.

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