Helen Frankenthaler

Helen Frankenthaler (1928-2011) studied with Rufino Tamayo at the Dalton School, graduating in 1945. By 1949, when she graduated from Bennington College, and moved to New York to study at Columbia University, she has removed any trace of representation from her art, embracing the philosophy of Clement Greenberg, who believed that modernism was taking abstraction toward anti-illusionistic flatness. Frankenthaler had her first one-person exhibit at Tibor de Nagy Gallery in 1951; she was just twenty-three years old when, in 1953, she painted Mountains and Sea, her first abstract stain painting. Success for her fresh approach included her first prize at the biennial exhibition of the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (1959), and traveling retrospectives organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art (1969) and the Corcoran Gallery of Art (1975).

At the suggestion of Larry Rivers, Frankenthaler was invited to work at ULAE in 1960 and the lithography stone quickly became the perfect vehicle for her athletic brand of gestural abstraction. For the next fifteen years, Frankenthaler continued her fruitful collaboration at ULAE, adding intaglio (1968) and woodcut (1973) to her repertoire.