|Helen Frankenthaler in 1957|
An exponent of Abstract Expressionism, Frankenthaler was focused on analysing and reproducing natural forms, as is apparent in Mountains and Sea (1952). Measuring approximately 3 metres wide and 2 metres high, Mountains and Sea matches the ambitious scale and gestural handling associated with the New York School, but Frankenthaler's method of paint application was markedly original: she thinned the oil paint to the consistency of watercolour so that it would soak into and stain the canvas rather than accumulate on its surface.
|1952 Mountains and Sea oil|
In 1958 Frankenthaler married Robert Motherwell. At about the same time she began experimenting with the relationship between fine lines and small, sun-like shapes. In the early 1960s she started producing paintings featuring a single stain or blot; she also began to use acrylic paint to create richly coloured canvases, such as Cape (Provincetown) (1964).
|1964 Cape, Provincetown|
Frankenthaler and Motherwell divorced in 1971, and several years later she bought a second home and studio in Connecticut, where she ventured into the production of welded-steel sculptures, prints, and illustrated books. Further experiments with other mediums led her to design the sets and costumes for a production by England's Royal Ballet in 1985. Frankenthaler continued to focus on painting throughout this period, and maintains her painting practice to the present day.
Frankenthaler has taught at Harvard, Princeton, Yale, and New York universities. Her first solo exhibition took place at the Tibor de Nagy Gallery, New York, in the autumn of 1951. Numerous solo exhibitions of her work have followed, including retrospectives at the Jewish Museum, New York (1960); Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (1969); Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts (1980); Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (1985); and the Museum of Modern Art, New York (1989).
Her many awards include First Prize for Painting at the first Paris Biennial (1959); Joseph E. Temple Gold Medal, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia (1968); New York City Mayor's Award of Honor for Arts and Culture (1986); and Distinguished Artist Award for Lifetime Achievement, College Art Association (1994). Frankenthaler lives and works in New York and Darien, Connecticut.
|1958 Before the Caves|
|1961 May 26th Backwards|
|1961 Summerscene, Provincetown|
|1963 Blue Atmosphere|
|1964 Interior Landscape|
|1964 Magic Carpet|
|1967-70 Connected by Joy etching and aquatint|
|1972 Green Nest|
|1974 Robinson's Wrap acrylic|
|1976 Desert Pass|
|1979 Viewpoint II|
|1981 A Green Thought in a Green Shade|
|1984 Covent Garden Study acrylic|
|1984 Quattrocento acrylic|
|1987 Broome Street at Night etching and aquatint|
|1987 Seeing the Moon on a Hot Summer Day acrylic|
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