Feb 18 2012

Verifying an Original Peter Helck Painting

Anne R: "I have acquired what I believe is a fantastic original Peter Helck painting and I was wondering if you could help me verify its authenticity? Thank you in advance for your consideration."

Anne, congratulations on the purchase of this beautiful painting! Two experts with special knowledge of the art of Peter Helck have commented on your painting.


Howard Kroplick


Images and Comments from Anne R.

Anne R: "The painting (not including the frame & mat) is approximately 15.5" across and 13.75" top to bottom." Close-Ups of the painting. Peter Helck's signature on the lower left corner. The inscription on the lower-right corner reads: "With kind Wishes to (or TA) Cooper."


Anne, based on Helck's distinctive style and signature, I believe your painting is an original Peter Helck. But, I went to two real experts to be sure....Tim and Jerry Helck. Tim Helck, grandson of Peter Helck and webmaster of peterhelck.com: "It's definitely a Peter Helck, though I can't find it in the work log." Jerry Helck, son of Peter Helck: "Tim has already responded positively to Howard and I agree that this is PH's work. Beyond that, I think it was most likely a story illustration from the early 1930s. I too searched the Work Log and found two possibles: (no references to "Cooper" though until 1958, definitely not relevant) "Train Drawing - old and new locomotives" for Cosmopolitan, Aug '33 "Railroad Story" for Crowell Colliers, 2/7/34. Update from Jim Blanchard (a Peter Helck enthusiast):"Hi Howard,So far, of the two leads provided by Jerry, I only found the Colliers Weekly illustration and it is not the painting we are looking for. Stay tuned, but my hunch is the painting was done prior to 1933. Here is the Colliers illustration that appeared April 28, 1934 in a railroad story "Danger Point". Thanks Tim, Jerry and Jim for your assistance and contributions to VanderbiltCupRaces.com. If you have any questions about your Vanderbilia, please forward an email and jpeg to me at Howard@Kroplick.com .

Related links on VanderbiltCupRaces.com and the Internet



Feb 19 2012 Howard Kroplick 2:46 PM

From Jim P:
“This is very interesting indeed. The small loco is a saddle-tank job. Doubtless the story the painting was done for had something to do with a faithful little steam engine that the big guys made fun of, as you see in the painting.  “Railroad Man’s Magazine” known later as “Railroad Magazine” enjoyed a wide circulation in the 30’s but it seems more likely that a commissioned painting would have been done for a magazine with larger circulation, such as SatEvePost or ??????  Many thanks. “

Feb 20 2012 Howard Kroplick 1:41 AM

From Anne R:
“Hi Howard, I can’t tell you how excited I am with this news and how very much I appreciate all of your efforts to find and pass on the information about my painting. Please pass on my sincere thanks to the other experts as well.”

Best Regards,

Feb 20 2012 Mark Patrick 9:16 AM

Wonderful thread here! Who is this mysterious Cooper?

Feb 20 2012 Roz 9:31 AM

Beautiful painting!

Feb 20 2012 Howard Kroplick 10:26 AM

From Bruce A.
““Wow ! Great picture, and Sooooooooo Helck in the story portrayed !”

Feb 21 2012 Howard Kroplick 1:09 AM

From Jerry Helck:
“Nice sleuthing, Jim! With a few more examples, it should be possible to estimate a painting’s date just by the form of signature. I remember my father telling me that when he was a kid, a popular comic strip was Clarence the Cop, and no boy wanted to be called Clarence. The problem was that my grandmother was Clara….and my father was particularly careful not to offend, so over the years his signing went from Clarence Helck, to Clarence Peter Helck, to C. Peter Helck, and eventually to just HELCK. Stay well, you all!

May 16 2012 ric rylands 2:13 PM

hi! i have contacted tim helck in the past.my father ric e. rylands was an artist also , and i   remember as a youngster visiting your home in southern new york. the best thing i remember are the vintage cars in the barn. they were amazing! anyway, I would like to learn about the original painting i have by mr. helck.if you could call me(801) 737-6927 or email me i would love to hear from you. thankyou

May 05 2013 Todd 9:34 PM

I have come across four painting that have the signature HELCK on the bottom corner.  I would like to send over some pics of them but don’t know how on this site. The look to be extremely old and have some kind of coating put over them. If some one has some info that would be great. Thank you

May 05 2013 Howard Kroplick 10:06 PM

Todd, you can send the jpegs to me at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) .


May 06 2013 Ted 2:27 AM

This whole thing is so interesting to me,that it’s so involved and you Howard are being so helpful to get to the bottom of the whole thing,what a guy you are,you’re always on the spot when needed,leave it to you and you’ll find the answer to almost everything that’s available.

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