YARES ART is pleased to present HELEN FRANKENTHALER: SELECTED PAINTINGS, on view in New York, March 2-May 18, 2019. Helen Frankenthaler (1928-2011) is one of the most important and influential postwar painters, whose abstract compositions, featuring brilliant ex-panses of color and light, have inspired generations of artists and changed the course of art history. Through her pioneering work of the early 1950s—large-scale compositions made with innovative pouring and staining techniques—she led the way from Abstract Expressionism to a new and vital form of painterly lyricism that heralded the Color Field movement.
On view in this exhibition are some twenty major large-scale paintings that celebrate the New York-born artist’s formidable, six-decade career. A classic Frankenthaler work, Swan Lake II (1961), filled with ethereal pools of electric blue, grays, and deep red, against a neutral ground, is a quint-essential example of her unparalleled achievement. Among the show’s other highlights is Pavillion (1971) and Summer Core (1968), both mural-size compositions featuring Frankenthaler’s distinctive, celestial blue tones. Here, the artist explores spatial relationships and the role of color in the composition’s overall emotional impact. In subsequent works, including Closing the Gap (1979), with infinite fields of Venetian red punctuated with touches of orange and lavender; and December Start, showing misty gray clouds traversed by a sensuous passage of pale pink, the artist offers painting a wholly immersive experience. Though fundamentally abstract, other works in the show, such as Las Mayas (1958) alluding to the works of Goya and Scarlatti (1987), to that of Vladimir Horowitz’s piano performance of a Domenico Scarlatti work, convey a reverence for the lessons of the Old Masters.
A legendary figure who rose to art-world prominence at an early age, Frankenthaler studied with Paul Feeley and Hans Hofmann. She knew personally most of the Abstract Expressionist greats, including Jackson Pollock, Franz Kline, and Robert Motherwell, to whom she was married from 1958 to 1971. Painted when she was just twenty-three, Mountains and Sea (1952), part of the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation’s Collection and on extended loan to the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, is widely regarded as a milestone in the history of art. She had embraced Pollock’s method of painting on the floor and his pouring techniques, but used them for a very different purpose. From early on in her career, she conveyed a meditative and spiritual reverence for nature rather than simply a self-reflective psychological investigation. Frankenthaler thus developed her own esoteric visual language that is universally understood today.
Frankenthaler’s work is included in many prominent public and private art collections throughout the world, including the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York; Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Canada; The Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois; Auckland Art Gallery, New Zealand; The Baltimore Museum of Art, Maryland; Bennington College, Vermont; Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, University of California, Berkeley; Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; The Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio; Dallas Museum of Art, Texas; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC; The Israel Museum, Jerusalem; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Musée National d’Art Moderne, Centre Pompidou, Paris, France; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts; National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; The National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Pennsylvania; The Phillips Col-lection, Washington, DC; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, California; Seattle Art Museum, Washington; Singapore Art Museum; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Tate, London, United Kingdom; Victoria and Albert Museum, London, United Kingdom; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota; Wallraf-Richartz-Museum & Fondation Corboud, Cologne, Germany; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut.
HELEN FRANKENTHALER: SELECTED PAINTINGS is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue with an essay by Alexander Nemerov.
All artworks © 2019 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York