Hilda Seliger Stoolman, 79, of Cherry Hill, an artist who realized her dream to live in the south of France, died of complications from emphysema Monday at John F. Kennedy Hospital in Cherry Hill.

Mrs. Stoolman was born on what would have been Vincent Van Gogh's 75th birthday and always felt she was his kindred spirit, said her daughter Ruth.

Mrs. Stoolman graduated from Camden High School and studied at Moore College of Art and Design, Temple University's Tyler School of Art, the Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts, and Fleischer Art Memorial. She specialized in realistic air-brush portraits and silk screens. Her work was exhibited at Moore and at the Philadelphia Art Alliance, and is in private collections in the United States and Europe. She won awards at shows, including at Cheltenham Art Center.

In 1949, she married George Stoolman, a retired marketing executive. In 1983, they moved to a village near Nice. The region inspired the French masters she admired, her daughter said, and she painted nearly eight hours every day. She exhibited her paintings of movie actors at the Cannes Film Festival.

She and her husband moved back to New Jersey in 1995 to spend more time with their grandchildren, who became subjects of her more recent work.

Her passions were painting, politics, cooking, traveling, and reading - she devoured two or three biographies a week, her daughter said.

In addition to her husband and daughter, Mrs. Stoolman is survived by daughter Ilene; sons Jeffrey and Richard; a brother; eight grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

A funeral will be at 3 p.m. today at Platt Memorial Chapels, 2001 Berlin Rd., Cherry Hill. Friends may call at 2:30 p.m. Burial will be private.