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Painted on 21st Street

Helen Frankenthaler from 1950 to 1959

March 8–April 13, 2013
West 21st Street, New York

Installation view Artwork © 2013 Estate of Helen Frankenthaler/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view

Artwork © 2013 Estate of Helen Frankenthaler/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view Artwork © 2013 Estate of Helen Frankenthaler/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view

Artwork © 2013 Estate of Helen Frankenthaler/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view Artwork © 2013 Estate of Helen Frankenthaler/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view

Artwork © 2013 Estate of Helen Frankenthaler/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view Artwork © 2013 Estate of Helen Frankenthaler/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view

Artwork © 2013 Estate of Helen Frankenthaler/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view Artwork © 2013 Estate of Helen Frankenthaler/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view

Artwork © 2013 Estate of Helen Frankenthaler/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view Artwork © 2013 Estate of Helen Frankenthaler/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view

Artwork © 2013 Estate of Helen Frankenthaler/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view Artwork © 2013 Estate of Helen Frankenthaler/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view

Artwork © 2013 Estate of Helen Frankenthaler/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view Artwork © 2013 Estate of Helen Frankenthaler/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view

Artwork © 2013 Estate of Helen Frankenthaler/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view Artwork © 2013 Estate of Helen Frankenthaler/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view

Artwork © 2013 Estate of Helen Frankenthaler/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view Artwork © 2013 Estate of Helen Frankenthaler/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view

Artwork © 2013 Estate of Helen Frankenthaler/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view Artwork © 2013 Estate of Helen Frankenthaler/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view

Artwork © 2013 Estate of Helen Frankenthaler/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view Artwork © 2013 Estate of Helen Frankenthaler/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view

Artwork © 2013 Estate of Helen Frankenthaler/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view Artwork © 2013 Estate of Helen Frankenthaler/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view

Artwork © 2013 Estate of Helen Frankenthaler/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view Artwork © 2013 Estate of Helen Frankenthaler/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view

Artwork © 2013 Estate of Helen Frankenthaler/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view Artwork © 2013 Estate of Helen Frankenthaler/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view

Artwork © 2013 Estate of Helen Frankenthaler/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view Artwork © 2013 Estate of Helen Frankenthaler/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view

Artwork © 2013 Estate of Helen Frankenthaler/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view Artwork © 2013 Estate of Helen Frankenthaler/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view

Artwork © 2013 Estate of Helen Frankenthaler/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view Artwork © 2013 Estate of Helen Frankenthaler/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view

Artwork © 2013 Estate of Helen Frankenthaler/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view Artwork © 2013 Estate of Helen Frankenthaler/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view

Artwork © 2013 Estate of Helen Frankenthaler/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view Artwork © 2013 Estate of Helen Frankenthaler/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view

Artwork © 2013 Estate of Helen Frankenthaler/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view Artwork © 2013 Estate of Helen Frankenthaler/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view

Artwork © 2013 Estate of Helen Frankenthaler/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view Artwork © 2013 Estate of Helen Frankenthaler/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view

Artwork © 2013 Estate of Helen Frankenthaler/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation video Play Button

Installation video

Works Exhibited

Helen Frankenthaler, Untitled, 1951 Oil and enamel on canvas, 56 ⅜ × 84 ½ inches (143.2 × 214.6 cm)© 2013 Estate of Helen Frankenthaler/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Helen Frankenthaler, Untitled, 1951

Oil and enamel on canvas, 56 ⅜ × 84 ½ inches (143.2 × 214.6 cm)
© 2013 Estate of Helen Frankenthaler/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Helen Frankenthaler, Mountains and Sea, 1952 Oil and charcoal on canvas, 86 ⅜ × 117 ¼ inches (219.4 × 297.8 cm)Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc., on extended loan to the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC© 2013 Estate of Helen Frankenthaler/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Helen Frankenthaler, Mountains and Sea, 1952

Oil and charcoal on canvas, 86 ⅜ × 117 ¼ inches (219.4 × 297.8 cm)
Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc., on extended loan to the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
© 2013 Estate of Helen Frankenthaler/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Helen Frankenthaler, Eden, 1956 Oil on canvas, 103 × 117 inches (261.6 × 297.2 cm)© 2013 Estate of Helen Frankenthaler/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Helen Frankenthaler, Eden, 1956

Oil on canvas, 103 × 117 inches (261.6 × 297.2 cm)
© 2013 Estate of Helen Frankenthaler/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Helen Frankenthaler, Western Dream, 1957 Oil on canvas, 70 × 86 inches (177.8 × 218.4 cm)© 2013 Estate of Helen Frankenthaler/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Helen Frankenthaler, Western Dream, 1957

Oil on canvas, 70 × 86 inches (177.8 × 218.4 cm)
© 2013 Estate of Helen Frankenthaler/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Helen Frankenthaler, Mother Goose Melody, 1959 Oil on canvas, 82 × 104 inches (208.2 × 264.1 cm)Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, Gift of Sydney and Frances Lewis© 2013 Estate of Helen Frankenthaler/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Helen Frankenthaler, Mother Goose Melody, 1959

Oil on canvas, 82 × 104 inches (208.2 × 264.1 cm)
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, Gift of Sydney and Frances Lewis
© 2013 Estate of Helen Frankenthaler/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

About

The only rule is that there are no rules. Anything is possible. . . . It’s all about risks, deliberate risks.
—Helen Frankenthaler

Gagosian, in cooperation with the Estate of Helen Frankenthaler, is pleased to present a major exhibition devoted to Helen Frankenthaler’s paintings from the 1950s. While Frankenthaler is recognized to be one of the great American artists of the twentieth century, this exhibition is the first in thirty years—and the first in New York City in more than fifty years—to offer a broad survey of this pivotal body of work. It brings together almost thirty paintings, including important yet rarely seen works from Frankenthaler’s estate, and signature works from public and private collections.

Painted on 21st Street: Helen Frankenthaler from 1950 to 1959 is curated by John Elderfield, chief curator emeritus of painting and sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and a consultant at Gagosian, who authored the principal monograph on Frankenthaler’s work in 1989.

Works in the exhibition range from the canvas from which the exhibition takes its title, Painted on 21st Street (1950–51), to the celebrated Mountains and Sea, (of 1952); to key paintings of the later 1950s, among them the Museum of Modern Art’s Jacob’s Ladder (1957), and the UC Berkeley Art Museum’s expansive Before the Caves (1958). Together they offer a fresh look at the greater range and diversity of a body of work too often viewed only within the context of Color Field painting. It reveals how, in the 1950s, Frankenthaler was a major second-generation Abstract Expressionist artist who advanced the methods of midcentury painterly abstraction. She did so through the technical innovation of stain painting and by expansion of its affective range of subject matter, drawing inspiration from a broad spectrum of sources, from landscape to the figure, from paleolithic cave paintings to the work of the old masters, and from mythical scenes to childhood memories.

Read more

Helen Frankenthaler in her studio in Provincetown. Black and white image.

Abstract Climates: Helen Frankenthaler in Provincetown

Lise Motherwell, a stepdaughter of Helen Frankenthaler and vice president of the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, and Elizabeth Smith, executive director of the Foundation, recently cocurated an exhibition of the artist’s work entitled Abstract Climates: Helen Frankenthaler in Provincetown. Here they discuss the origin of the exhibition, the relationship between the artist’s work and her summers spent in Provincetown, and the presentations at the Provincetown Art Association and Museum, in 2018, and the Parrish Art Museum, Water Mill, New York, in 2019.

Helen Frankenthaler in gondola with various friends, Venice, June 1966

Pittura/Panorama: Paintings by Helen Frankenthaler, 1952–1992

Pittura/Panorama: Paintings by Helen Frankenthaler, 1952–1992 marks the first time that Frankenthaler’s paintings have been exhibited in Venice since her inclusion in the 1966 Biennale as part of the US Pavilion. This video, including interviews with the show’s curator, John Elderfield; the chairman of the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Clifford Ross; and the Foundation’s executive director, Elizabeth Smith, provides viewers with an in-depth look at the fourteen paintings included in the exhibition.

Helen Frankenthaler, Riverhead, 1963 (detail).

Frankenthaler

On the occasion of the exhibition Pittura/Panorama: Paintings by Helen Frankenthaler, 1952–1992, at the Museo di Palazzo Grimani in Venice, Italy, art historians John Elderfield and Pepe Karmel discuss the concept of the panorama in relation to the artist’s work. Their conversation traces developments in Frankenthaler’s approach to composition, the boundaries and conventions of abstraction, and how, in many ways, her career continually challenged established theories of art history.

Gagosian Quarterly Summer 2019

Now available
Gagosian Quarterly Summer 2019

The Summer 2019 issue of Gagosian Quarterly is now available, featuring a detail from Afrylic by Ellen Gallagher on its cover.

Helen Frankenthaler: Sea Change

Helen Frankenthaler: Sea Change

Elizabeth Smith, executive director of the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, and curator John Elderfield discuss a decade of Frankenthaler’s work on the occasion of her first exhibition of paintings in Rome.

Helen and High Water

Helen and High Water

John Elderfield shares part of his lecture, prepared on the occasion of the exhibition Abstract Climates: Helen Frankenthaler in Provincetown.