As a founding member of the Philadelphia Ten, Helen Kiner McCarthy played an instrumental role in fostering the careers of talented women painters and sculptors, and bringing their work to the attention of a wider collecting audience.
A collection of scenes from her 1925 trip to Italy, which she displayed in an exhibition of the Philadelphia Ten held at the Philadelphia Art Club the following year, inspired the critic for the Philadelphia Public Ledger to write: "Helen K. McCarthy has brought back from Italy a series of paintings which differ markedly from the usual type of Italian landscapes seen by American eyes. It is not so much the color of Italy as its compositional charm, its picture potentialities that interested the artist. She has sensed the richer fascination of white villages climbing the fecund hills, she has felt the decorative value of vineyard arbors lacing a brown design among the vines, the charm of twisting trees and old stone walls topped by billowing cloud and flow of blue sky.”
 Philadelphia Public Ledger, February 28, 1926
More information about this painting...
This description aligns very closely with the visually pleasing Taormina, Italy, although based on the tablet on the original frame, this work may have been on view at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts’ 121st Annual Exhibition occurring at the same time several blocks away from the Philadelphia Ten show.
Collection, Fort Lauderdale, Florida
1). (artist’s initials, verso of two frame corners) H.K / McC
2). (verso of frame at top) TEN ROTARY
3). (verso of frame at left) H. K. McCARTHY / 27 W. 67 ST / NEW YORK CITY
1). (on frame at top) Department of Fine Arts / Sesqui-Centennial Centennial International Exposition / Philadelphia / 1926 / Title (blank or faded) / Artist (blank or faded) / Return Address (blank or faded)
2). (stamp partially covered by the above) 13—
1). (likely) 121st Annual Exhibition, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, January 21 – March 21, 1926, No. 102 as Sicilian City
2). (likely) Sesqui-Centennial International Exposition, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, May 31 – November, 1926