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A line, color, shapes, spaces, all do one thing for and within themselves, and yet do something else, in relation to everything that is going on within the four sides [of the canvas]. A line is a line, but it is a color.”
—Helen Frankenthaler

Gagosian is pleased to announce an exhibition of paintings by Helen Frankenthaler.

The exhibition comprises seventeen canvases by Frankenthaler from a twenty-five-year time span, selected to reveal how the renowned abstract painter articulated the relationship between drawing and color during this period. In her pioneering work of the 1950s, inspired by Jackson Pollock, Frankenthaler had poured both linear tracks and spreading areas of thinned paint onto unprimed canvas. She continued with this approach in the early 1960s, but with a difference: in paintings like Pink Field (1962), broad areas of color combine with linear elements so narrow as to seem drawn, resulting in canvases with no sense of division between the drawn and the painted. In such works as Parade (1965), she set aside the landscape association that had aided the cohesion of her earlier compositions in favor of an abstract parade of colored lines and areas. The contours of these areas, vividly contrasted against white canvas, look as much drawn as do the narrow, cursively shaped lines of paint.

In 1970, Frankenthaler reintroduced individual elements of drawing into her work. In paintings such as Mornings and Barbizon, she began by setting down large areas with drawn contours, before running slender graphic filaments across them. In later works of that decade, such as Rapunzel (1974), she carried this further by pre-painting the entire canvas with one color before setting down the drawing, together with color patches, on top. Then, in a group of paintings from 1976, which includes Blue Bellows and Sentry, she created the drawn elements by masking out strips of bare canvas close to the vertical edges of the works before applying a single color over them in a looser, more painterly fashion. Later that decade, in works like Mineral Kingdom (1976), she gave prominence to richly varied applications of paint, drawn over the surface with a variety of spreading tools. By the early 1980s, this led to the extraordinarily complex, visually stunning surfaces of Grey Fireworks (1982) and Brother Angel (1983), composed of swathes, areas, and clumps of paint, with drawn elements snaking among them.

Helen Frankenthaler: Line into Color, Color into Line

Helen Frankenthaler: Line into Color, Color into Line

To mark the occasion of the exhibition Line into Color, Color into Line: Helen Frankenthaler, Paintings, 1962–1987, the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation and Gagosian produced a video of rare archival footage of Frankenthaler on the subject of line and color.

Richard Armstrong

Richard Armstrong

Richard Armstrong, director emeritus of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation, joins the Quarterly’s Alison McDonald to discuss his election to the board of the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, as well as the changing priorities and strategies of museums, foundations, and curators. He reflects on his various roles within museums and recounts his first meeting with Frankenthaler.

Carol Armstrong and John Elderfield

In Conversation
Carol Armstrong and John Elderfield

In conjunction with the exhibition Drawing within Nature: Paintings from the 1990s at Gagosian in New York, Carol Armstrong and John Elderfield discuss Helen Frankenthaler’s paintings and large-scale works on paper dating from 1990 to 1995.

The Romance of a New Medium: Helen Frankenthaler and the Art of Collaboration

The Romance of a New Medium: Helen Frankenthaler and the Art of Collaboration

Inspired by the recent retrospective of Helen Frankenthaler’s woodcuts at the Dulwich Picture Gallery, London, William Davie writes about the artist’s innovative journey with printmaking. Davie illuminates Frankenthaler’s formative collaborations with master printers Tatyana Grosman and Kenneth Tyler.

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

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: A Painter’s Sculptures

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.

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.

The Helen Frankenthaler Foundation on COVID-19 Relief Funding

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.

Betty Parsons

Game Changer
Betty Parsons

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

Abstract Climates: Helen Frankenthaler in Provincetown

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.

Frankenthaler

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.

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

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.

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. 

Helen Frankenthaler at the Clark Art Institute

Helen Frankenthaler at the Clark Art Institute

Phyllis Tuchman on the critical role of scale in Frankenthaler’s art practice.

Frankenthaler

Frankenthaler

John Elderfield and Lauren Mahony discuss Helen Frankenthaler and her work from 1959 to 1962.

After Frankenthaler: An Interview with Katy Siegel

After Frankenthaler: An Interview with Katy Siegel

Art historian Katy Siegel discusses her recent exhibition at the Rose Art Museum and publication “The heroine Paint”: After Frankenthaler with Gagosian’s Alison McDonald.

John Elderfield and Elizabeth Smith

John Elderfield and Elizabeth Smith

John Elderfield and Elizabeth Smith discuss the paintings of Helen Frankenthaler on the occasion of Helen Frankenthaler: Composing with Color, Paintings 1962–1963.

Cover of the book Helen Frankenthaler: Drawing within Nature: Paintings from the 1990s

Helen Frankenthaler: Drawing within Nature: Paintings from the 1990s

$100
Cover of the book Imagining Landscapes: Paintings by Helen Frankenthaler, 1952–1976

Imagining Landscapes: Paintings by Helen Frankenthaler, 1952–1976

$80
Cover of the book Pittura/Panorama: Paintings by Helen Frankenthaler, 1952–1992

Helen Frankenthaler: Sea Change: A Decade of Paintings, 1974–1983

$80
Cover of the book Pittura/Panorama: Paintings by Helen Frankenthaler, 1952–1992

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

$80
Cover of the book Ninth Street Woman with dust jacket

Mary Gabriel: Ninth Street Women: Lee Krasner, Elaine de Kooning, Grace Hartigan, Joan Mitchell, and Helen Frankenthaler

$35
Cover of the book “The heroine Paint”: After Frankenthaler

“The heroine Paint”: After Frankenthaler

$40
Cover of the monograph Helen Frankenthaler, published in 1989

Frankenthaler

$975
Cover of the book Caro and North American Painters

Caro and North American Painters

$125
Cover of the Summer 2021 issue of Gagosian Quarterly magazine, featuring artwork by Carrie Mae Weems

Gagosian Quarterly: Summer 2021 Issue

$20