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Helen Frankenthaler

Helen Frankenthaler

*  1928 New York
† 2011 Darien/Connecticut

The US-American painter, graphic artist and sculptor Helen Frankenthaler gained world-wide fame as a remarkable representative of Abstract Expressionism.
Helen Frankenthaler was born in New York in 1928. She took painting lessons with Rufino Tamayo at the Dalton School as of 1945. In the following she studied at Bennington College in Bennington / Vermont (1946), at the New York Art Students League (1947-1949) and took private lessons with the famous Hans Hofmann (1950). Additionally, Helen Frankenthaler studied art history with no one less than Meyer Schapiro at the Columbia University in New York in 1949.
In the New York of the 1950s Helen Frankenthaler soon came in touch with avant-garde artists of the New York School, among them Jackson Pollock. Her contact with Robert Motherwell, who was in New York on a teaching assignment, was particularly intense. In 1958 he and Helen Frankenthaler got married, however, the marriage should last eleven years only.
Between 1958 and some point far into the 1980s Helen Frankenthaler had many teaching posts at various institutes and universities, among them the renowned Yale University in New Haven / Connecticut.
Inspired by Willem de Kooning and Jackson Pollock, Helen Frankenthaler developed an expressive and abstract style that is characterized by a subjective spontaneity and an almost harmonious poetry. She became especially famous for her preferred technique of painting with thin paint on a coarse unprimed canvas (Soak Stain Technique), with the effect that coloring and image carrier merged.
The Color Field Painting of artists like Morris Louis or Kenneth Noland used this innovation as a source on inspiration for their art.
As far as graphic art is concerned, Helen Frankenthaler's color lithographs, which formed an independent work complex since 1961, are particularly worthwhile mentioning. Additionally, steel and terracotta sculptures came into existence since the 1970s.
Works by the highly honored Helen Frankenthaler are in possession of many international museums, among them the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the MUMOK in Vienna, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston or the Phoenix Art Museum.