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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

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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.

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Katy Hessel, Matthew Holman, and Eleanor Nairne

In Conversation
Katy Hessel, Matthew Holman, and Eleanor Nairne on Helen Frankenthaler

Broadcaster and art historian Katy Hessel; Matthew Holman, associate lecturer in English at University College London; and Eleanor Nairne, curator at the Barbican Art Gallery, London, discuss Helen Frankenthaler’s early training, the development of her signature soak-stain technique and subsequent shifts in style, and her connections to the London art world.

Helen Frankenthaler, Heart of London Map, steel sculpture

Helen Frankenthaler: A Painter’s Sculptures

On the occasion of four exhibitions in London exploring different aspects of Helen Frankenthaler’s work, Lauren Mahony introduces texts by the sculptor Anthony Caro and by the artist herself on her relatively unfamiliar first body of sculpture, made in the summer of 1972 in Caro’s London studio.

Carrie Mae Weems’s The Louvre (2006), on the cover of Gagosian Quarterly, Summer 2021

Now available
Gagosian Quarterly Summer 2021

The Summer 2021 issue of Gagosian Quarterly is now available, featuring Carrie Mae Weems’s The Louvre (2006) on its cover.

Augurs of Spring

Augurs of Spring

As spring approaches in the Northern Hemisphere, Sydney Stutterheim reflects on the iconography and symbolism of the season in art both past and present.

Helen Frankenthaler, Cool Summer, 1962, oil on canvas, 69 ¾ × 120 inches (177.2 × 304.8 cm), Collection Helen Frankenthaler Foundation.

Building a Legacy
The Helen Frankenthaler Foundation on COVID-19 Relief Funding

The Quarterly’s Alison McDonald speaks with Clifford Ross, Frederick J. Iseman, and Dr. Lise Motherwell, members of the board of directors of the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, and Elizabeth Smith, executive director, about the foundation’s decision to establish a multiyear initiative dedicated to providing $5 million in covid-19 relief for artists and arts professionals.

A portrait of Betty Parsons surrounded by art.

Game Changer
Betty Parsons

Wyatt Allgeier pays homage to the renowned gallerist and artist Betty Parsons (1900–1982).