Helen Frankenthaler

Artist Profile Helen Frankenthaler

Helen Frankenthaler was among the most influential artists of the mid-twentieth century. Influenced by Abstract Expressionist painting practices, particularly those of Jackson Pollock and Franz Kline, Frankenthaler invented the “soak-stain” technique, in which she poured turpentine-thinned paint onto canvas, producing luminous color washes that appeared to merge with the canvas and deny any hint of three-dimensional illusionism. Her breakthrough use of paint on canvas gave rise to Color Field Painting.

Helen Frankenthaler in front of ‘Freefall’, Tyler Graphics Ltd., Mount Kisco, New York, 1993. Photographer: Marabeth Cohen-Tyler. National Gallery of Australia, Canberra. Gift of Kenneth Tyler 2002. Image courtesy of the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation.