“There are no rules. That is how art is born.” ~Helen Frankenthaler
Helen Frankenthaler (pronunciation) was an American painter. She is associated with the Abstract Expressionist and Color Field movements. Her early works were influenced by Jackson Pollock’s paintings, and she later worked with large formats and created abstract landscapes.
Hellen was born in New York City on December 12, 1928. Her father, Alfred Frankenthaler, was a respected New York State Supreme Court judge. Her mother, Martha Lowenthal Frankenthaler, was a Jewish refugee from Germany.
She began her artistic studies at the Dalton School in New York City and then went on to study at Bennington College in Vermont. There she met fellow artist Clement Greenberg who introduced her to the work of Abstract Expressionist painters such as Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning.
During the 1950’s, Frankenthaler began to experiment with color field painting, which is a style very similar to abstract expressionism. It’s a process of painting or staining flat, solid colors over a large unbroken surface. She began with acrylic paints, then began to use oil paints as a stain on canvas, which gave her art a more fluid look.
She always liked to experiment and challenge herself though, so later in life she took up printmaking and woodcutting. She continued creating art until her death in 2011 at the age of 83.
Frankenthaler’s art was met with mixed reviews, with some people finding it too simple and unchallenging. But others loved it, and she will always be remembered as a prominent figure in the color field and Abstract Expressionism movements.
For more project ideas, check out these Helen Frankenthaler-inspired art projects here:
Helen Frankenthaler “Soak Stain” Art Lesson for Kids by Faber-Castell
Helen Frankenthaler Inspired Puddle Paintings by Art Camp Studio
Kindergarten – Watercolor “stains” inspired by Helen Frankenthaler by Anita Sagastegui