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Extended through September 18, 2021

Imagining Landscapes

Paintings by Helen Frankenthaler, 1952–1976

June 17–September 18, 2021
Grosvenor Hill, London

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Installation video

Installation view Artwork © 2021 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Lucy Dawkins

Installation view

Artwork © 2021 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Lucy Dawkins

Installation view Artwork © 2021 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Lucy Dawkins

Installation view

Artwork © 2021 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Lucy Dawkins

Installation view Artwork © 2021 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Lucy Dawkins

Installation view

Artwork © 2021 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Lucy Dawkins

Installation view Artwork © 2021 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Lucy Dawkins

Installation view

Artwork © 2021 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Lucy Dawkins

Installation view with Helen Frankenthaler, Untitled (1958) Artwork © 2021 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Lucy Dawkins

Installation view with Helen Frankenthaler, Untitled (1958)

Artwork © 2021 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Lucy Dawkins

Installation view Artwork © 2021 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Lucy Dawkins

Installation view

Artwork © 2021 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Lucy Dawkins

Installation view Artwork © 2021 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Lucy Dawkins

Installation view

Artwork © 2021 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Lucy Dawkins

Installation view Artwork © 2021 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Lucy Dawkins

Installation view

Artwork © 2021 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Lucy Dawkins

Installation view Artwork © 2021 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Lucy Dawkins

Installation view

Artwork © 2021 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Lucy Dawkins

Installation view Artwork © 2021 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Lucy Dawkins

Installation view

Artwork © 2021 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Lucy Dawkins

Installation view Artwork © 2021 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Lucy Dawkins

Installation view

Artwork © 2021 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Lucy Dawkins

Installation view Artwork © 2021 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Lucy Dawkins

Installation view

Artwork © 2021 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Lucy Dawkins

Works Exhibited

Helen Frankenthaler, Untitled, 1958 Oil and charcoal on primed canvas, 78 ⅝ × 83 ¼ inches (199.7 × 211.5 cm)© 2021 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Rob McKeever

Helen Frankenthaler, Untitled, 1958

Oil and charcoal on primed canvas, 78 ⅝ × 83 ¼ inches (199.7 × 211.5 cm)
© 2021 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Rob McKeever

Helen Frankenthaler, Fable, 1961 Oil and charcoal on unsized, unprimed canvas, 94 ½ × 99 inches (240 × 251.5 cm)© 2021 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Rob McKeever

Helen Frankenthaler, Fable, 1961

Oil and charcoal on unsized, unprimed canvas, 94 ½ × 99 inches (240 × 251.5 cm)
© 2021 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Rob McKeever

Helen Frakenthaler, Red Travels, 1971 Acrylic and marker on canvas, 109 ⅝ × 64 inches (278.4 × 162.6 cm)© 2021 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Rob McKeever

Helen Frakenthaler, Red Travels, 1971

Acrylic and marker on canvas, 109 ⅝ × 64 inches (278.4 × 162.6 cm)
© 2021 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Rob McKeever

About

I had the landscape in my arms when I painted it. I had the landscapes in my mind and shoulder and wrist.
—Helen Frankenthaler

Gagosian is pleased to present Imagining Landscapes: Paintings by Helen Frankenthaler, 1952–1976, an exhibition of thirteen paintings from the collection of the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, several of which have never been exhibited before.

The references to landscape that are inherent in these paintings shift between subtle and explicit, as critic E. C. Goossen observed in 1958. All are characterized by an extraordinary variety of line and color. The earliest of them—painted in 1952, before Frankenthaler’s breakthrough development of soak-stain painting later that year with Mountains and Sea—is the work of an already mature artist: an invented panorama with suggestions of palm fronds and mountain peaks. The next belongs to a small group of canvases with drawn forms that Frankenthaler painted on her honeymoon with Robert Motherwell in the southwest of France. And four canvases from 1961—Fable, Beach Scene, Square Figure, and After Rubens—show her simplifying her drawing and making it more calligraphic, even as she continued to create figural as well as landscape references.

In three canvases from 1963, a major change is evident in Frankenthaler’s approach. Juxtaposed areas of lush stained color replace the lines of the earlier paintings, their irregular borders evoking the boundaries of natural forms. The titles of these works—Narcissus, Yolk, Sea Goddess—invite interpretation of their sometimes aqueous, sometimes cloudy forms in the manner that Leonardo da Vinci advised painters to look at stained walls and see in them images of the natural world. Even as Pop art was recuperating explicit depiction, and Color Field painting purist abstraction, Frankenthaler maintained in her own way an art of allusion—the richness of ambiguous reference—and cultivated a complexity akin to the volatility of the physical universe.

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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).

News

Left: Katy Hessel. Photo: Luke Fullalove. Middle: Matthew Holman. Right: Eleanor Nairne. Photo: Max Colson

In Conversation

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

Wednesday, September 8, 2021, 1pm edt (6pm bst)

Join Gagosian for an online conversation between 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, about the exhibition Imagining Landscapes: Paintings by Helen Frankenthaler, 1952–1976, on view at Gagosian, Grosvenor Hill, London, through September 18. The trio will discuss 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. To join, register at eventbrite.com.

Left: Katy Hessel. Photo: Luke Fullalove. Middle: Matthew Holman. Right: Eleanor Nairne. Photo: Max Colson