Search the Collections

Helen Frankenthaler
Birth Date: 
Birth Place: 
New York City
Death Date: 
Death Place: 
Darien, CT
Helen Frankenthaler is a Second generation Abstract Expressionist. In 1952 she created the work, "Mountains and Sea," by pouring paint directly onto an unprimed canvas surface, allowing color to soak into the canvas. (Until then it was customary to paint on top of a sealed canvas.) The process, "stain painting," became her hallmark and enabled her to create color-filled canvases. The innovation was critical to a new group of artists known as Color-Field painters. RESIDENCE: New York City FAMILY BACKGROUND: daughter of New York State Supreme Court Justice, Alfred Frankenthaler, and Marthat Lowenstein Frankenthaler; married to American painter Robert Motherwell (1958-1971); sister of tapestry maker, Gloria F. Ross, and Marjorie Iseman. EDUCATION: 1950 studied with Hans Hofmann 1949 BA, Bennington College (studied with Paul Feeley) 1948 studied with Wallace Harrison 1946 Art Students League, New York City (studied with Vaclav Vytlacil) The Dalton School (studied with Rufino Tamayo) TEACHING POSITIONS: 1958-74 New York University; University of Pennsylvania; Yale University; School of Visual Arts, New York City; Hunter College; University of Rochester; Bennington College; Brooklyn Museum School; Swarthmore College; Drew University ASSOCIATION WITH MAJOR PRINT PRESSES: 1972 began working with Crown Point Press. She accepted Kathan Brown's invitation to make a print as part of the Crown Point Press project in which artists from the United States traveled to Kyoto, Japan, to work in the traditional Japanese manner, using water-based inks. 1961 began working with Universal Art Limited Editions, Long Island, New York Tyler Graphics HONORS andAWARDS include: 1959-1978 Honorary DFA at major colleges and universities among which are Radcliffe College, Amherst College, New York University, Williams College, Harvard University, Yale University, Brandeis University, Syracuse University, Bard College, Moore College of Art, Philadelphia, Smith College; Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, Skidmore College 1972 III Beiennale Della Grafica d'Arte, Florence, Italy, Gold Medal 1972 Ada S. Garrett Prize, Chicago/AI 1970 Spirit of Achievement Award, Albert Einstein College 1968 Joseph E. Temple Gold Medal 1959 I Paris Biennial, First Prize Subject of the film, Frankenthaler: Toward a new Climate, produced and directed by Perry Miller Adato SELECTED ONE-PERSON EXHIBITIONS include: 1990-1998 -Frankenthaler: The Early Years, a survey of innovative stain paintings made between 1952 and 1960, Guggenheim Museum (January-May 1998) -Knoedler & Company, New York 1980-1989 -Knoedler Gallery, London -Brandeis University, Boston -Gallery One, Toronto 1970-1979 -The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. -John Berggruen Gallery, San Francisco -The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York -The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York 1960-1969 -Andre Emmerich Gallery, New York (numerous shows during the 60's, 70's, 80's) -Galerie Lawrence, Paris -The Jewish Museum, New York 1950-1959 -Tibor de Nagy Gallery (1951-her first show, also 1952-1958) RETROSPECTIVES include: 1984 International Exhibitions Foundation, Washington, D.C. (traveled) 1978 International Communications Agency (world tour) 1975 The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. (traveled) 1972 John Berggruen Gallery 1969 Whitney Museum of American Art SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS include: 1990-1997 -Thirty-Five Years at Crown Point Press: Making Prints, Doing Art, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. (June-September, 1997), FAMSF (October 1997-January 1998) -Art and Friendship: Selections from the Roland F. Pease Collection, Tibor de Nagy Gallery, New York -Color Field, The Classic Years 1960-1975, Andre Emmerich, A Division of Sotheby's, New York -Contemporary Masterworks, Knoedler & Company, New York 1980-1989 -Printed Art: A View of Two Decades; The Modern Drawing; Prints from Blocks: Gauguin to Now, (all three at the Museum of Modern Art, New York) -American Prints: Process and Proofs, Whitney Museum of American Art -After Matisse, Independent Curators Inc., New York City 1970-1979 -L'Art Vivant, Foundation Maeght, France -Color and Field 1890-1970, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York -Abstract Painting in the '70's, Boston Museum of Fine Arts -30 Years of American Printmaking, Brooklyn Museum -New Work in Clay, Everson Museum, Syracuse, New York 1960-1969 -Abstract Expressionists and Images, Guggenheim Museum, New York -The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Annuals, Philadelphia -Post Painterly Abstraction, Los Angeles County Museum of Art -Untitled 1968, San Francisco Museum of Art -Corcoran Biennial, Washington, D.C. -XXIII Venice Biennial, Italy 1950-1959 -Whitney Museum of American Art Annuals ('50's, '60's, '70's) -International Biennial Exhibition of Paintings, Tokyo -New Talent, The Kootz Gallery, New York