HELEN LaFRANCE PAINTING/FUNERAL IN THE FOG O/C ON p. 92 "HELEN LAFRANCE FOLK ART MEMORIES"
This extremely well done depiction of a Funeral in the Fog is by renowned self-taught American artist Helen LaFrance (b. Kentucky 1919-2020). Oil on canvas measuring 20 x 30 inches sight size, the painting draws on LaFrance's childhood memories to evoke a mood. She creates a sense or an impression with light and atmosphere---with the fog, the stance of the people, the flowers on the casket, and the blooms on the headstones in the country graveyard. LaFrance's family was buried in the church yard of a rural church in Graves County, KY. Photographs of those head stones and of this very painting appear in Kathy Moses' book "Helen LaFrance Folk Art Memories" (with Bruce Shelton, with a foreword by Lee Kogan of the American Folk Art Museum, NYC). Lafrance is an accomplished painter, wood carver, quilter and Biblical interpreter, but her special talent is her ability to connect with the viewer emotionally through the memories they both share. The church was the cornerstone for most families who lived in rural communities at the time that LaFrance was growing up. Because she attended picnics, baptisms, weddings, funerals and Bible study there, the church holds special memories for her. In this painting, she paints a sense of time and place to which most people cannot help but respond.
Helen LaFrance celebrated her 100th birthday in November of 2019. She died one year later in 2020 at 101 years of age.
The Speed Art Museum in Louisville, KY mounted a beautiful catalogued show of Helen's work running from August 30, 2022 through April 30, 2023 called Kentucky Women: Helen LaFrance.