Frankenthaler, Helen

Frankenthaler, Helen

(frăngk`ənthŏlər), 1928–2011, American painter, b. New York City. The youngest of the women who formed part of abstract expressionismabstract expressionism,
movement of abstract painting that emerged in New York City during the mid-1940s and attained singular prominence in American art in the following decade; also called action painting and the New York school.
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's second generation, Frankenthaler was greatly influenced by Jackson PollockPollock, Jackson,
1912–56, American painter, b. Cody, Wyo. He studied (1929–31) in New York City, mainly under Thomas Hart Benton, but he was more strongly influenced by A. P. Ryder and the Mexican muralists, especially Siqueiros.
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, with whom she studied. Her abstract works evoke a lyrical and sensuous mood, as in Blue Territory (1955) and Arden (1961; both: Whitney Mus., New York City). She also developed a technique for staining unprimed canvases with color, first using it in Mountains and Sea (1952, National Gall. of Art, Washington, D.C.), which many consider a prime inspiration for the color-field paintingcolor-field painting,
abstract art movement that originated in the 1960s. Coming after the abstract expressionism of the 1950s, color-field painting represents a sharp change from the earlier movement.
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 of the 1960s. The technique later influenced such painters as Morris LouisLouis, Morris,
1912–62, American painter, b. Baltimore. A practitioner of color-field painting, Louis was noted for soaking poured paint through unsized and often unstretched canvas.
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, Kenneth NolandNoland, Kenneth
, 1924–2010, American painter, b. Asheville, N.C. An outstanding colorist, Noland was one of the best-known exponents of the abstract painting movement known as color-field painting.
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 and a variety of women artists. Frankenthaler was also a skilled printmaker.

Bibliography

See studies by K. Wilkin (1985), E. A. Carmean (1989), J. Elderfield (1989), R. Fine (1993), P. Harrison (1996), J. Goldman et al. (2002), J. Brown and S. Cross (2003), A. Rowley (2008), J. Elderfield (2013), and K. Siegel (2015); M. Gabriel, Ninth Street Women (2018).

Frankenthaler, Helen

(1928–  ) painter; born in New York City. She studied with many teachers, including Hans Hofmann (1950), and was married to Robert Motherwell (1958–71). Based in New York City, she taught in numerous places and is known for her staining technique using thinned oils and acrylics on unprimed canvases. Her optical effects first gained public acclaim with Mountains and Sea (1952).