Helmi Juvonen was well acquainted with several members of the Northwest School, but worked most of her life in relative obscurity. Beginning in 1929 she studied at the Cornish Art Institute and showed great promise as an artist despite the resistance from her family. However, in 1930, following a severe depression, Helmi was hospitalized and diagnosed with manic-depressive illness. She was in and out of institutions between 1930 and 1959, after which time she remained at the hospital until her death. She was a prolific and expressive artist, but only gained full recognition in the last decade of her life. Historically, she one of the few women associated with the community of artists working in Seattle at that time. The Frye Art Museum gave Juvonen her first museum exhibition in 1976, which was curated by her close friend Wesley Wehr.