John Heliker's "Interior with Three Figures" (1987, oil on linen)
John Heliker's Interior with Three Figures (1987, oil on linen)

John Heliker Exhibition Opens a New View of Manhattan Art World

Aug 12, 2015
Brenau Staff

A special exhibition of paintings and drawings spanning six decades of work by acclaimed New York painter John Heliker will run from Thursday, Aug. 13, to Thursday, Nov. 19, at Brenau University’s Sellars Gallery, 200 Blvd., on the historic Gainesville campus.

Although Heliker is best known for figurative works, the curated exhibition titled “John Heliker: The Order of Things” also features a range of oil-based landscapes as well as abstract mixed-media pieces.

“This show is really impressive in the breadth of the work it represents,” said Brenau University Gallery Director Nichole Rawlings. “Heliker was a contemporary of a lot of the artists that we have featured in previous exhibits.”

In addition to the ongoing exhibition, which is free and open to the public during regular gallery hours, Brenau Galleries will host a lecture featuring Heliker-LaHotan Foundation Executive Director Patricia Bailey at a a free public reception on Thursday, Sept. 17, at 6 p.m.

Rawlings said that the curated exhibition, built around art that has never been displayed on the Brenau campus, is particularly significant for the university because of its permanent collection of art, some of which represents work by Heliker contemporaries. A large selection of work from artists active in Heliker’s era remains on permanent display at Brenau’s Manhattan Gallery at the Brenau Downtown Center in Gainesville, but there are no Heliker pieces in the Brenau collection.

Heliker, who died in 2000 at age 91, served as a professor at Columbia University for 27 years. But he had been a fixture in the New York art world as early as the 1930s. He received numerous accolades for his works, including the prestigious Prix de Rome, a Guggenheim Fellowship and three Ford Foundation Purchase awards. His work has been featured at New York’s Metropolitan Museum, Museum of Modern Art and Whitney Museum.

Consult the Brenau Galleries website at for hours and other information. Brenau will offer guided tours of the exhibit to adult groups of five or more people. The tours are offered on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 11 a.m. Tours must be reserved at least two weeks in advance. For more information on the exhibit or to book group tours, please contact Allison Murphy Lauricella at or (770) 534-6263.