Artwork Guide

Helen Frankenthaler

Born 1928, New York, New York, U.S.; died Darien, Connecticut, U.S., 2011

March 2021

Born in Manhattan, New York, in 1928, Helen Frankenthaler grew up visiting museums like the Metropolitan Museum of Art and going on summer trips to the countryside. She decided as a teenager that she wanted to become an artist and studied art with the painter Rufino Tamayo when she was fifteen years old. In the early 1950s, Frankenthaler met many famous artists working in New York City at this time, including Jackson Pollock. Inspired by Pollock’s work, she began experimenting with new ways to make paintings by pouring thinned paint and letting the colors soak into the canvas. She is associated with the Color Field Movement, a style of painting that began in the late 1940s and emphasized the expressive power of paintings constructed primarily out of large fields of color. Throughout her life, Frankenthaler experimented with different processes and forms of art-making — from sculpture and ceramics to stage sets and costumes she designed for the ballet.

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