Helen Frankenthaler
American, 1928-2011
High auction record
$3m, Sotheby's, 2015
Blue chip
Represented by internationally recognized galleries.
Collected by major museums
Tate, Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) , Anderson Collection at Stanford University
Selected exhibitions
Helen Frankenthaler Prints: The Romance of a New Medium,
Art Institute of Chicago
Helen Frankenthaler Prints: The Romance of a New Medium,
Helen Frankenthaler Foundation
As in Nature: Helen Frankenthaler Paintings,
Helen Frankenthaler Foundation

A second-generation Abstract Expressionist painter, Helen Frankenthaler became active in the New York School of the 1950s, initially influenced by artists like Arshile Gorky, Willem de Kooning, and Jackson Pollock. She gained fame with her invention of the color-stain technique—applying thin washes of paint to unprimed canvas—in her iconic Mountains and Sea (1952), a motivating work for Morris Louis, Kenneth Noland, and other Color Field painters who emerged in the ’60s. Her own canvases, however, often evoked elements of landscape or figuration in the shaping of their forms. “My pictures are full of climates, abstract climates,” she once said. “They're not nature per se, but a feeling.” From 1958 to 1971, she was married to fellow Abstract Expressionist Robert Motherwell, who, like Frankenthaler, worked in symbolic painted gestures—only her paintings were almost always visibly …

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