FRANKENTHALER, Helen

Helen Frankenthaler (born December 12, 1928) is an American post-painterly abstraction artist. Born in New York City, she was influenced by Jackson Pollock's paintings and by Clement Greenberg. She later married fellow artist Robert Motherwell.

Her career was launched in 1952 with the exhibition of 'Mountains and Sea'. This painting is large - measuring seven feet by ten feet - and has the effect of a watercolor, though it is painted in oils. In it, she used the technique of painting directly on to an unprepared canvas so that the material absorbs the colors. She heavily diluted the oil paint with turpentine or kerosene so that the color would soak into the canvas. This technique, known as "soak stain" was adopted by other artists (notably Morris Louis and Kenneth Noland) and launched the second generation of the Color Field school of painting. This method would leave the canvas with a halo effect around each area to which the paint was applied.


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