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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

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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