Born in Hamburg, Helen and her younger sister Eva were put on a Kindertransport to Holland as soon as possible after Kristallnacht. In 1939 the Hesse family, now reunited , were able to immigrate to America and settled in Washington Heights. Helen went on to graduate with honors, from Hunter College, marry, and have 2 children before going back to earn a Masters’ degree in Library Science.
After her sister’s untimely death in 1970, while still working full time in the school system, Helen took on managing her sister’s estate and immersed herself in navigating the art world. She was mentored and guided by Donald Droll and later Barry Rosen. Together, with Barry, they guided the representation of the artist to important galleries, initially Fourcade Droll, then Droll Kolbert and later Robert Miller. Hesse is currently a part of the Hauser Wirth family.
In addition to giving press and television interviews about her sister’s work, Helen was also a part of the Eva Hesse documentary movie. Her passionate commitment to protect the legacy of her sister remains ongoing.
Dr. Ori Z Soltes teaches at Georgetown University across the disciplines of theology, art history, philosophy and politics. He is the former Director and Curator of the B’nai B’rith Klutznick National Jewish Museum where he curated some 80 exhibitions. He is the author of several hundred articles and catalogue essays, and the author or editor of 25 books, including The Ashen Rainbow: The Holocaust and the Arts; Symbols of Faith: How Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Art Draw from the Same Source; and Tradition and Transformation: Three Millennia of Jewish Art and Architecture and Immortality, Memory, Creativity, and Survival: The Arts of Alice Lok Cahana, Ronnie Cahana and Kitra Cahana (FAS 2020)