Helen Frankenthaler at Gagosian Gallery

Organised in collaboration with the newly established Helen Frankenthaler Foundation,  Gagosian Gallery will present Helen Frankenthaler—Composing with Colour: Paintings 1962-1963. Curated by John Elderfield, the exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue and an essay by Elizabeth Smith, Executive Director of the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation. The essay places Frankenthaler’s work within the wider context of American art in the early 1960s, and also examines the development of her work from 1962 to 1963.

The exhibition focuses on Helen Frankenthaler’s brief but critical period of composing with colour instead of line, leading to looser compositions and a style that would exemplify her long career. Moving away from her starker, more graphic prints in 1960 to 1961, Frankenthaler painted in a freer way that more readily filled the space of the canvas. This “total colour image,” as described by critic B.H Friedman, would become a hallmark of her later work. Such colour compositions exhibited include Cloud Bank, Hommage à M.L. and Cool Summer (all 1962).

In this period, Frankenthaler began to experiment with acrylic paint, exemplified by her large-scale paintings Pink Lady and Sun Shapes (both 1963). The large expanses of flat, intense hues in both paintings anticipate her later work, which becomes increasingly abstract.

Frankenthaler, Gulf Stream, 1963
Gulf Stream, 1963

Frankenthaler, Pink Lady, 1963
Pink Lady, 1963

Frankenthaler, Cool Summer, 1962
Cool Summer, 1962

by Louise Lui 

Composing with Colour: Paintings 1962-63 will run September 11 through October 18, 2014 at Gagosian Gallery
980 Madison Avenue, New York

All images © 2014 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Photos by Rob McKeever. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery


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