Helen Frankenthaler

Late Works, 1990–2003

New Britain Museum of American Art

Helen Frankenthaler working on Untitled, 1991, in her studio, Saddle Rock Road, Shippan Point, Stamford, CT, July 1991. Helen Frankenthaler Foundation Archives, New York. Photo: Vincent Dion. Artwork © 2021 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

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The New Britain Museum of American Art is pleased to present “Helen Frankenthaler: Late Works, 1990–2003,” on view through May 23. The first museum presentation dedicated to the exploration of works from Helen Frankenthaler’s late life, the exhibition features approximately twenty-two works on paper dating from 1990 to 2003—some measuring over six feet. The exhibition is curated by Douglas Dreishpoon, director of the Helen Frankenthaler Catalogue Raisonné and chief curator emeritus of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, with loans from the collection of the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation.

Frankenthaler (1928–2011), whose career spanned six decades, has long been recognized as one of the great American artists of the twentieth century. She was eminent among the second generation of postwar American abstract painters and is widely credited for playing a pivotal role in the transition from Abstract Expressionism to Color Field painting. Through her invention of the soak-stain technique, she expanded the possibilities of abstract painting while referencing figuration and landscape in unique ways. In later years, her practice continued to evolve through her use of diverse media and processes, as she shifted from painting canvas on the floor to using larger sheets of paper that were laid out on the floor or on tabletops for easier accessibility. The continuity between the late work and what came before is striking, as Frankenthaler continued to move in intuitive directions that were inspired by her mood and imagination.

Click here for a virtual tour of the exhibition.

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