Artist Helen Gerardia focuses on the play of light in ‘Bridge at Night’ lithograph

By Daniel Fulco, Ph.D., Agnita M. Stine Schreiber Curator
We hope that you enjoy this print from the collection.
Helen Gerardia


In this colorful abstract print, Helen Gerardia created a kaleidoscopic, dynamic composition that reflects her fascination with geometry, engineering, architecture, and the urban landscape. Broad and thin rectangular bands, interlocking and extending in multiple directions across the pictorial plane, recall the steel girders and cables of a bridge. By using blue, white, and black, and including textured areas behind the structural forms that resemble illuminated clouds (as well as a circle in the top-center, reminiscent of a half-moon), Gerardia alerts us to the scene’s nocturnal setting. About her aesthetic approach and use of abstraction, she remarked in 1959:

I have always been interested in the play of light and its effect on form and color. Another quality of light, the prismatic breaking up of color, has always fascinated me. I felt that by placing my color in broken areas I could, in a way, approximate the movement of atmosphere and the divisibility of color.

Born in Dnipro, Ukraine (Yekaterinoslav, when previously controlled by the Russian Empire from 1784–1918), Gerardia immigrated to America in the early 1900s and settled in New York. She began teaching in New York’s elementary schools and then transitioned to pursuing a career as a professional artist. Gerardia first studied at the Art Students League (New York) in 1947 and was awarded a two-year scholarship at the Tschacbasov School of Fine Arts in Woodstock, New York. From 1947–48, she continued her studies with Hans Hofmann (1880–1966) at the Hofmann School and Brooklyn Museum of Art. At first influenced by Hoffmann’s Abstract Expressionist style, her interests later shifted to Cubism and hard-edged, precise geometric abstraction. During her life, Gerardia achieved considerable success and she made exclusive editions of prints for the Society of American Graphic Artists and Contemporaries. She served as President of the American Society of Contemporary Artists and the National Association Women Artists. In addition, Gerardia was appointed as a delegate to the US Committee of the International Association of Art.

This WeekendArt is sponsored by Mr. & Mrs. David O. McCain, III