Dorothy Heller Mid Century Abstract Expressionist 1962

Dorothy Heller Mid Century Abstract Expressionist 1962


Dorothy Heller
"Little Sun"
 Oil on Canvas
 22 1//2" x 17 3/4", Framed 24 1/2"x19 1/2"
Signed in paint lower right and on reverse

Abstract expressionist painting by "the finest woman painter in America", Dorothy Heller (1916-2003). Signed in paint on lower right, she was a student of Hans Hoffman. Signed, dated 1962 and entitled, "Little Sun" on reverse. Canvas measures, 22 1/2" x 17 3/4", overall, 24 1/2" x 2" x 19 1/2". Light wood frame. This piece was acquired in the San Francisco Bay Area. 

Excellent Condition - Minor wear consistent with age and history. Could benefit from professional cleaning.

Dorothy Heller Bio

Dorothy Heller’s career as an artist spanned over five decades, from 1942 to the mid-1990s. By 1950, her works were abstract expressionist, many with urban or untamed nature themes. The work evolved into a humanistic period, beginning in the early 1960s, during which she explored human sensibility and intellect: the roles of literature and poets, life and death cycles, world religions, and symbols. 

Heller (1916-2003) lived and worked in New York City. She studied at the National Academy of Design and, later, with Hans Hofmann. 

She was active in the New York art world in the 1950s through 1970s and her solo exhibitions and works in group exhibitions were well-received. Her work appeared in numerous group exhibitions including the Albright Knox Art Gallery, Wadsworth Athenaeum, the Whitney Museum Annual, and Piccadilly Gallery, London.

David Hass of northwest London, notes that the reviewer’s rundown of women painters in New York in the 1950s omits a certain Dorothy Heller, who, according to Hass (I wonder what his source is), was once named by Clement Greenberg as “the finest woman painter in America,” adding that she exhibited with the Tibor de Nagy, Poindexter, and Betty Parsons Galleries. 

Walter Wickiser Gallery

Dorothy Heller studied at the Art Students League and later with Hans Hofmann. Her Abstract Expressionist Art Works were well received by the "Art World" during the 1950s through the 1970s; she was ranked along with the best of the Abstract Expressionists at that time. Her Abstract Expressionist work has not had much exposure since then. In the 80s and 90s she evolved a more mystical/symbolic style which was championed and shown by Betty Parsons; she died in 2003.

A large selection of her work, approximately 200 paintings and 1,000 drawings are being put up for distribution to the public, either through selected lots to galleries, direct sales from the "Heller Studio" or to museums. Photographs and some drawings can be viewed by appointment; most of the art work is in the Heller Studio located in New York City.


The Donnell Library – New York, NY 1979

St. Peters Church - New York, NY 1979

Betty Parsons Gallery - New York, NY 1978

Transcendental Art Center - New York, NY 1977

Betty Parsons Gallery - New York, NY 1976

University of Pennsylvania - Philadelphia, PA 1976

Cathedral of St. John the Divine - New York, NY 1976

Fair Lawn Library - Fair Lawn, NJ 1975

Betty Parsons Gallery - New York, NY 1972

East Hampton Gallery - New York, NY 1963

Poindexter Gallery - New York, NY 1957

Poindexter Gallery - New York, NY 1956

Galerie Facchetti - Paris France 1955

Tibor de Nagy - New York, NY 1953


Betty Stoller - New York, NY 1980

The Otis Art Institute - Los Angeles, CA 1979

Betty Parsons Gallery - New York, NY 1972 thru 1979

Drew University - Madison, NJ 1977

C. W. Post College - Long Island, NY 1975

Albright-Knox Art Gallery - Buffalo, NY 1974

University of California Art Museum - Berkeley, CA 1974

New York Cultural Center “Women Choose Women” - New York, NY 1973

Piccadilly Gallery - London, England 1967

Wadsworth Atheneum - Hartford, CT 1964

Museum of Modern Art (New York, NY) Traveling Exhibition 1963

Carnegie International - Pittsburgh, PA 1959

Carnegie Endowment Center - New York, NY 1958

Whitney Museum Annual - New York, NY 1956

Walker Art Center - Minneapolis, MN 1955

Galerie Prismes - Paris, France 1955

Stable Gallery Annual - New York, NY 1953

Denver Art Museum - Denver, CO 1953


Smithsonian Archives of American Art - Washington, DC 1977, 1981, 2012

Metropolitan Museum of Art - New York, NY 1990

Zimmerli Museum - Paris, France 1954, 1990

Channel 13 Collection - New York, NY 1964, 1972, 1977

Donnell Library Collection - New York, NY 1976

Johnson Museum at Cornell University 1970

University of California Art Museum - Berkeley, CA 1961

Chicago Art Institute - Chicago, IL 1957

Greenville County Museum of Art - Greenville, NC 1956

Allen Memorial Art Museum - Oberlin, OH 1956

Museum of Modern Art - Haifa, Israel 1956

Whitney Museum - New York, NY 1955

Denver Art Museum - Denver, CO 1953


Lenny Lipka Private Collection 1963-1966

Waldamar Hansen Private Collection 1964-1995

Russell Bush Private Collection 1964-1995

Arthur Minters Private Collection 1957-1965

Michelle Oka & Frederick Doner Private Collection 1964-1981

Andrew Heller Private Collection 1948-1983

Boris & Deborah Ostrovsky Private Collection 1963-1989

Arthur &Anita Kahn Private Collection 1974-1989

Barbara Nylund et al Private Collection 1993-2001

Charles Poncé Private Collection 1970-1999

William Thompson & Julie Jones Private Collection 2012


Christian Science Monitor, article author Theo Wolff 05/22/79

Meditation Today, cover and article 09/76

Smithsonian Institution, Lecture by Betty Parsons 04/76

Christian Science Monitor, article author Diana Loercher 10/22/76

Arts Magazine, article author Noel Frackman 04/76

Art News, article author James Mellow 11/72

Arts Magazine, article author Cindy Nemser 10/72

Carnegie Endowment Center, Lecture by Charles Poncé 02/71

La Presse, Montreal, article author Simone Auger 03/63

Art News, article author Irving Sandler 03/63


Who’s Who in American Women 1977/1978

Who’s Who in the East 1977

International Women’s Year Award 1976

Who’s Who in American Art 1973

Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution 1973


Heller Studio, c/o Joseph Grunig, Unit 1F, 685 West End Ave,

NY, NY 10025 T 212-866-5800,

Dorothy Heller was born in New York City on June 15, 1916

and died in New York City on November 26, 2003.

Paintings on Linen: Approximately 450, of which approximately

100 sold or distributed

Works on Paper: Approximately 3,000, of which approximately

400 sold or distributed

Genres: (approximate dates)

Early period 1940s

Abstract Expressionist period 1949 to 1964

Mystical images 1965 to 1974

Symbolic images 1975 to 2003

Locations where works were created:

1940-1945 Various shared studios in New York City

1941-1942 Classes with Hans Hofmann in Provincetown, MA

1945-1948 TB sanatorium Denver, CO

1949-1950 Studio in Denver, CO

1951-2003 Permanent studio at 8 West 13th St, New York City

1954 Studio in Paris, France

Price Upon Request