Helen Frankenthaler (1928-2011)
Weather Vane, 1969-70; Aquatint on Buff Arches paper; Signed Frankenthaler and dated 1969-70 in pencil lower right and numbered 13/23 I in pencil lower left; Published by Universal Limited Art Editions, West Islip, NY (with their chop mark lower left); Catalogue Raisonne: Harrison 20; Size - Image 19 x 14", Sheet 30 x 22 1/4", Frame 31 1/2 x 24"; Framed floated on an acid free mat, wood frame, and UV conservation clear glass.
Helen Frankenthaler (1928-2011) was an American abstract expressionist painter who exhibited artwork for over six decades starting from the early 1950's until her passing in 2011. She was included in the 1964 Post-Painterly Abstraction exhibition curated by the famed art critic Clement Greenberg; and the body of work presented in the show would latter be known as Color Field Painting. Frankenthaler's work has been the subject of several retrospective exhibitions, including the important 1989 retrospective held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. In 2011 she was awarded the National Medal of Arts.
Helen Frankenthaler is, without a question, one of the greatest artists of the twentieth century and is one of the very few female artists that would be included in such a list. She was married to the abstract expressionist artist Robert Motherwell, and had an intimate relationship with the famous art critic Clement Greenberg; so her connections within the art community run very deep. Frankenthaler was initially involved in the abstract expressionist movement but was looking for a path forward. After a trip in October to Nova Scotia, she had a breakthrough with a painting that she called "Mountains and
Sea," 1952. The painting was abstract, and rather than painting the landscape seen on her trip, the work portrayed the experience itself. The composition was painted using a "soak stain" technique, whereby unprimed canvas duct is painted using oil paint that had been heavily thinned with turpentine. The effects of the technique reinforced the abstract nature of the landscape painting; and when the artists Kenneth Noland and Morris Louis saw it in her studio, their own painting styles and working methods were forever changed.
During the 1960's, ULAE published original prints by Sam Francis, Helen Frankenthaler, Jasper Johns, Barnett Newman, Robert Rauschenberg, Larry Rivers, Cy Twombly, and many other major modern artists working at the time. This is the last print created in the 1960's and the last listed in the 1960's section of the Frankenthaler print catalogue raisonne. "Weather Vane" is an aquatint printed in five colors from two copper plates in the following sequence: 1) Beige 2) Olive, orage, purple-red, and blue-grey. The printing of the beige color first provides a centered ground that allows for the other colors, located in the four corners, to better activate the composition. The colors appear to have been poured onto the paper, referring back to the early post-painterly work done by Frankenther in the 1950's and 60's. This is a wonderful example of Frankenthaler at her best and a great addition to any art collection.
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