Helen Frankenthaler was born in New York in 1928. She studied
at a number of art schools and was taught at one stage by
Hans Hofmann. By 1950 she had met many of the main figures
of Abstract Expressionism. In 1958 she married the painter Robert
Frankenthaler became the first American painter after Jackson
Pollock to see the implications of the color staining of raw
canvas to create an integration of color and ground in which
foreground and background cease to exist. This highly intuitive
process, known as “stain painting,” became the hallmark of her
style and enabled her to create color-filled canvases that
seemed to float on air.
In 1960 Frankenthaler made her first prints. She then worked with a variety of printmaking
techniques in addition to painting, using each of these media to explore pictorial space
through the interaction of color and line on a particular surface. One of her most
successful prints is “Essence Mulberry” (1977) inspired by an exhibit of medieval prints at
the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Helen Frankenthaler’s art is held in the collection of every major museum of modern art.
The stain technique she made famous is still an integral part of her work and it can be
seen running through her entire oeuvre. Although the paintings are abstract, a strong
suggestion of landscape is often apparent, and they have been praised for their lyrical