Helen Frankenthaler 12/12/1928-12/27/2011

Bullet Shih Dec, 2011 0
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Helen Frankenthaler was a pioneer who was a distinctive female voice in the macho New York Abstract Expressionist scene in the 1950s.  It was her unique application of paint that lead critic and former lover Clement Greenberg to declare her work to be “Post-Painterly Abstraction”.  It was Greenberg that brought the two young painters Kenneth Noland and Morris Louis to her studio to examine the work  Mountains and Sea in 1952 that Frankenthaler produced after a trip to Nova Scotia.  In this work she used diluted paint on raw canvas to infuse the canvas with color rather than simply applying it to the surface as had traditionally been done.  Noland and Louis immediately embraced this technique and the Color Field Painting movement was born.

Frankenthaler was born in New York and attended the prestigious Dalton School on the Upper East Side studying under Rufino Tamayo before attending Bennington College in Vermont.  Upon returning to New York, she joined the new Tibor de Nagy Gallery and had her first solo show there in 1951.  In 1958 she married the Abstract Expressionist artist Robert Motherwell reclusing themselves from the downtown art scene by returning to the Upper East Side until their divorce in 1971.  In the 1970s, Frankenthaler moved to Connecticut where she was to continue painting for the for the next four decades.  She died in her house in Darien, Connecticut after a long illness.

NY Times Obituary

Helen Frankenthaler Adriatic 1969

source rocor via Flickr.com

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