The Print Center

Helena Hernmarck

Helena Hernmarck is a textile artist who often works on commissions in both her native Sweden and the United States, where she has lived since 1975. Hernmarck was initially drawn to the transparency of newspaper and how light filters through it. In 1982, Hernmarck was commissioned by the newspaper Newsday, headquartered in Melville, New York, to produce the wall sized textile piece Front Pages. Using strategic lighting and overlapping sheets of newspaper Hernmarck created a maquette which was photographed by her friend, the artist Sally Andersen Bruce. Hernmarck then hand-colored the photographs, which in turn were used to create a template for this weaving. 

Hernmarck initially was drawn to the transparency of newspaper and how light filters through it. Effects such as folds of paper, overlapping edges, and light are visible within Front Pages. Upon close inspection of the details, the stitching reveals a surface depth and intricate interweaving of wool, cotton and linen. Headlines are legible, and the painterly markings from the hand-colored photograph are evident in the finished work. 

Front Pages was first installed in the lobby of Newsday then moved to a boardroom and eventually scheduled for removal due to the lack of space. A maintenance person designated to remove the tapestry, contacted the Museum of Art and Design in New York City, and asked if they would accept it as a donation. Thus, in 1996, the work was single handedly saved from destruction and can be enjoyed and studied today. 

-LB

Artist Biography