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Peter Helck

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Peter Helck
Person

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Official Site: peterhelck.com
Wikipedia: Peter Helck

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Lifetime: 1893-1988

Automotive artist specializing in antique cars and antique race cars.

History

The following section is an excerpt from Wikipedia's Peter Helck page on 26 June 2016, text available via the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Peter Helck (1893-1988) was an American illustrator who specialized in depicting racecars. He estimated that he had produced more than 600 sketches, drawings and paintings during his career.

Helck developed an early interest in automobiles, and as a boy caught rides with the race car driver who tested Simplex cars.

He attended the Vanderbilt Cup on Long Island in 1906. He studied art in New York City, where he could observe the new automobiles displayed in showrooms. His first sale was to the Brighton Beach Motordrome, and he was soon receiving commissions from the Sheepshead Bay Speedway.

Helck worked for many of the major automobile magazines, in particular The Autocar, which took him to England and to major races in France and Italy. In the 1930s Helck was commissioned by the Sinclair Oil Company to produce a large format road map. This map did much to build Sinclair's reputation and to promote driving for pleasure.

In the mid-1940s he was commissioned by Esquire magazine for eight paintings depicting early motor racing. These did much to further interest in the old car hobby.

In 1941 Helck acquired the famous Locomobile Old 16 racecar, which had won the 1908 Vanderbilt Cup, the first American-made car to win a race against international competition. Helck kept the car in its original paint. Old 16 was given to Helck's son Jerry, who later sold it to the Henry Ford Museum. In 1945 he was elected into the National Academy of Design as an Associate member, and became a full Academician in 1950.

He died in 1988.

Legacy

Helck was one of the founding faculty for the Famous Artists School. He also wrote and illustrated many articles, along with two books, The Checkered Flag and Great Auto Races.


Article Index

1949 Philadelphia & National Antique Auto Show 1949 Philadelphia Auto Show Program Page
View 1949 Philadelphia & National Antique Auto Show Front Cover - 18.1MB


Article Index

DateArticleAuthor/Source
March-April 1972Here and There in Motoring's Past: 1901-Henri Fournier, Idol of France Peter Helck, Antique Automobile
March-April 1972Here and There in Motoring's Past: 1902-The Indomitable AustralianPeter Helck, Antique Automobile
March-April 1972Here and There in Motoring's Past: 1903 - Mr. Packard's Single Cylinder ObsessionPeter Helck, Antique Automobile
March-April 1972Here and There in Motoring's Past: 1903-1906—Mr. Schwarzkopf Changes His MindPeter Helck, Antique Automobile
March-April 1972Here and There in Motoring's Past: 1903 & 1955 - Cross Country Racing Peter Helck, Antique Automobile
March-April 1972Here and There in Motoring's Past: 1908 - Briarcliff Trophy: Dirty Trick Peter Helck, Antique Automobile
March-April 1972Here and There in Motoring's Past: 1911 - Indy "500" Questions Needing Answers Peter Helck, Antique Automobile
March-April 1972Here and There in Motoring's Past: 1911 - The Fiat Tipo S-74 Peter Helck, Antique Automobile
March-April 1972Here and There in Motoring's Past: 1927 - The First Mille Miglia, and the LastPeter Helck, Antique Automobile
March-April 1972Here and There in Motoring's Past: 1969-1971 Recent Discoveries Peter Helck, Antique Automobile
March-April 1972Here and There in Motoring's Past: Carl Fisher's Vanderbilt Cup CandidatePeter Helck, Antique Automobile
March-April 1972Here and There in Motoring's Past: Friendly RivalsPeter Helck, Antique Automobile
March-April 1972Here and There in Motoring's Past: Garden City Hotel - Early Mecca for Motorists Peter Helck, Antique Automobile




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