Helen Lessore

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Helen Lessore
Born Helen Brook
31 October 1907
London, England
Died 6 May 1994
London, England
Nationality English
Known for Painter
Notable work(s) Gallerist
Awards Order of the British Empire
Helen Lessore, Symposium I, 1974-1977, oil on canvas, Tate

Helen Lessore OBE (31 October 1907- 6 May 1994) was a gallerist and the director of the Beaux Arts Gallery in London as well as an English modernist painter and visual artist.

Early life[edit]

She was born Helen Brook on 31 October 1907 in London, England.[1] Her father was Lithuanian and her mother was German though grew up in Spain.[1] She studied at Slade School of Fine Art from 1924 to 1928.[2]

She married the sculptor and gallerist Frederick Lessore in 1934.[1] In 1939 she had a son named John, who is also an artist.[2]


Beaux Arts Gallery[edit]

In 1931 she began to work as a secretary at the Beaux Arts Gallery, which was founded by the sculptor Frederick Lessore, on Bruton Place in London.[2] Increasingly involved in the running of the gallery and the management of artists, she published the first of many articles on the painter Walter Sickert in 1932.[1] In the years following World War II, the Beaux Arts Gallery became noted for championing figurative painting.[3] When Frederick Lessore died in 1951, she took over full directorship of the gallery.[1] Under Lessore's leadership, the Beaux Arts Gallery became specifically known for exhibiting artists from the Kitchen Sink School. In particular, four artists from the Kitchen Sink School became known as the Beaux Arts Quartet: John Bratby, Derrick Greaves, Jack Smith and Edward Middleditch.[3] It is especially noteworthy that each of these artists was chosen before they achieved widespread recognition at the 1956 Venice Biennial.[1] Lessore was also key in championing young, unknown artists. For instance Francis Bacon had a solo exhibition at the Beaux Art Gallery in 1953.[4] In addition both Frank Auerbach and Leon Kossoff each held their first solo exhibitions at the gallery in 1956 and 1957, respectively.[3]

Lessore ran the gallery until its closure in 1965.[3] The gallery's final exhibition was a show of Lessore's son, the artist John Lessore.[1]


A full retrospective of her paintings was exhibited at the Fine Art Society in London in 1987.[1] Her paintings can currently be found in public collections around Great Britain, including the Tate Britain[5] and the Royal Academy of Arts.[6]


Lessore was made an Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1958 for her services to the arts at the 1958 Birthday Honours.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Morphet, Richard. "Obituary: Helen Lessore" The Independent, Retrieved 14 April 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d Bohm-Duchen, Monica. "Artist Biography" Tate, Retrieved 14 April 2014.
  3. ^ a b c d " 'Lessore, Helen' A Dictionary of Modern and Contemporary Art by Ian Chilvers and John Glaves-Smith. Oxford University Press Inc. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press" BBC Your Paintings, Retrieved 14 April 2014.
  4. ^ "Francis Bacon" Marlborough Fine Arts, Retrieved 14 April 2014.
  5. ^ Helen Lessore. Tate. Retrieved 14 April 2014.
  6. ^ "Miss Edna Brook" BBC Your Paintings, Retrieved 15 April 2014.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]