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Line into Color, Color into Line

Helen Frankenthaler, Paintings, 1962–1987

September 16–October 29, 2016
Beverly Hills

Installation view Artwork © 2016 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Jeff McLane

Installation view

Artwork © 2016 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Jeff McLane

Installation view Artwork © 2016 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Jeff McLane

Installation view

Artwork © 2016 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Jeff McLane

Installation view Artwork © 2016 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Jeff McLane

Installation view

Artwork © 2016 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Jeff McLane

Installation view Artwork © 2016 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Jeff McLane

Installation view

Artwork © 2016 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Jeff McLane

Installation view Artwork © 2016 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Jeff McLane

Installation view

Artwork © 2016 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Jeff McLane

Installation view Artwork © 2016 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Jeff McLane

Installation view

Artwork © 2016 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Jeff McLane

Installation view Artwork © 2016 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Jeff McLane

Installation view

Artwork © 2016 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Jeff McLane

Installation view Artwork © 2016 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Jeff McLane

Installation view

Artwork © 2016 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Jeff McLane

Installation view Artwork © 2016 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Jeff McLane

Installation view

Artwork © 2016 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Jeff McLane

Works Exhibited

Helen Frankenthaler, Pink Field, 1962 Acrylic on canvas, 23 ¾ × 58 inches (60.3 × 147.3 cm)© 2016 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Rob McKeever

Helen Frankenthaler, Pink Field, 1962

Acrylic on canvas, 23 ¾ × 58 inches (60.3 × 147.3 cm)
© 2016 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Rob McKeever

Helen Frankenthaler, Parade, 1965 Acrylic on canvas, 73 × 56 ½ inches (185.4 × 143.5 cm)© 2016 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Rob McKeever

Helen Frankenthaler, Parade, 1965

Acrylic on canvas, 73 × 56 ½ inches (185.4 × 143.5 cm)
© 2016 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Rob McKeever

Helen Frankenthaler, Barbizon, 1971 Acrylic, marker, and crayon on canvas, 62 ¾ × 39 ½ inches (159.4 × 100.3 cm)© 2016 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Rob McKeever

Helen Frankenthaler, Barbizon, 1971

Acrylic, marker, and crayon on canvas, 62 ¾ × 39 ½ inches (159.4 × 100.3 cm)
© 2016 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Rob McKeever

Helen Frankenthaler, Mornings, 1971 Acrylic and marker on canvas, 116 × 73 inches (294.6 × 185.4 cm)© 2016 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Rob McKeever

Helen Frankenthaler, Mornings, 1971

Acrylic and marker on canvas, 116 × 73 inches (294.6 × 185.4 cm)
© 2016 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Rob McKeever

Helen Frankenthaler, Rapunzel, 1974 Acrylic on canvas, 108 × 81 inches (274.3 × 205.7 cm)© 2016 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Rob McKeever

Helen Frankenthaler, Rapunzel, 1974

Acrylic on canvas, 108 × 81 inches (274.3 × 205.7 cm)
© 2016 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Rob McKeever

Helen Frankenthaler, Blue Bellows, 1976 Acrylic on canvas, 115 ¼ × 94 inches (292.7 × 238.8 cm)© 2016 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Rob McKeever

Helen Frankenthaler, Blue Bellows, 1976

Acrylic on canvas, 115 ¼ × 94 inches (292.7 × 238.8 cm)
© 2016 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Rob McKeever

Helen Frankenthaler, Sentry, 1976 Acrylic on canvas, 114 × 90 inches (289.6 × 228.6 cm)© 2016 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Rob McKeever

Helen Frankenthaler, Sentry, 1976

Acrylic on canvas, 114 × 90 inches (289.6 × 228.6 cm)
© 2016 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Rob McKeever

Helen Frankenthaler, Mineral Kingdom, 1976 Acrylic on canvas, 69 × 108 ½ inches (175.3 × 275.6 cm)© 2016 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Rob McKeever

Helen Frankenthaler, Mineral Kingdom, 1976

Acrylic on canvas, 69 × 108 ½ inches (175.3 × 275.6 cm)
© 2016 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Rob McKeever

Helen Frankenthaler, Grey Fireworks, 1982 Acrylic on canvas, 72 × 118 ½ inches (182.9 × 301 cm)© 2016 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Rob McKeever

Helen Frankenthaler, Grey Fireworks, 1982

Acrylic on canvas, 72 × 118 ½ inches (182.9 × 301 cm)
© 2016 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Rob McKeever

Helen Frankenthaler, Brother Angel, 1983 Acrylic on canvas, 66 ¼ × 117 inches (168.3 × 297.2 cm)© 2016 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Rob McKeever

Helen Frankenthaler, Brother Angel, 1983

Acrylic on canvas, 66 ¼ × 117 inches (168.3 × 297.2 cm)
© 2016 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Rob McKeever

About

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.

Read more

Helen Frankenthaler painting in her studio.

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.

Helen Frankenthaler, Madame Butterfly, 102 color woodcut from 46 woodblocks

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

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.