Helen Hyde (1868-1919) was born in New York, and studied art at the Californian School of Design. She then moved to Berlin where she studied under Franz Skarbina, and after a year moved on to Paris where she trained with Felix Regamay.
Regamay owned an extensive collection of Japanese prints, and these, along with her admiration for the work of Mary Cassatt, encouraged her to explore the Japonism movement. In 1899 Helen Hyde moved to Tokyo where she resided until 1913. There she studied Japanese painting techniques and woodblock printing. She had a fiercely independent and adventurous spirit. Though from a wealthy family she chose to provide for herself in her adulthood through her printmaking, and was successful in her endeavours. She never married or had children, despite her artwork being almost entirely populated by mothers with their offspring.
Helen Hyde is little known in England though several American museums and galleries exhibit her work. She certainly deserves more recognition on this side of the Atlantic for her unique and gorgeous compositions. Printmakers though, rarely if ever, attain the fame of painters in oil. Hyde’s work merges the delicate colouring, and neat, stylised lines of Japanese prints, with the warmth and playful qualities of the European Impressionist movement. The results are delightful.