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Helen Frankenthaler

"What concerns me when I work, is not whether the picture is a landscape, or whether it's pastoral, or whether somebody will see a sunset in it. What concerns me is – did I make a beautiful picture?"

American,  b. 1928

Biography of Helen Frankenthaler

Helen Frankenthaler, a pioneer of Abstract Expressionism, was born in New York City in 1928. Surrounded by the art world from a young age, she studied under influential artists like Hans Hofmann, who championed the exploration of color and form. This early exposure ignited her passion for abstraction.

Frankenthaler's signature technique, known as "soak staining," revolutionized the application of paint. Instead of building layers on a canvas, she thinned her paints and poured them directly onto unprimed fabric. The paint soaked into the canvas, creating luminous washes and unexpected interactions between colors. This innovative approach blurred the line between figure and ground, emphasizing the inherent beauty of paint itself.

While her peers in Abstract Expressionism often used bold gestures and physical action in their work, Frankenthaler's approach was more lyrical and spontaneous. Her paintings were explosions of color, full of energy and movement, yet balanced with a sense of serenity.

Frankenthaler's work challenged the dominance of male artists in the Abstract Expressionist movement. Her unique voice and innovative techniques earned her international acclaim. Throughout her long career, she continued to push boundaries, exploring new materials and defying artistic categorization. Today, she is celebrated as a groundbreaking artist whose influence continues to inspire contemporary painters.

About The Helen Frankenthaler Art Market  

Helen Frankenthaler's art market has seen a significant upswing in recent years, solidifying her place as a leading figure in Abstract Expressionism. Once overshadowed by her male counterparts, her work is now gaining well-deserved recognition from collectors and institutions alike.

For much of her career, Frankenthaler's paintings sold for modest prices compared to her peers. However, a shift began in the 1990s, with growing appreciation for her innovative techniques and the vibrancy of her canvases. A turning point came in 2015 when her monumental work "Mountains and Sea" fetched a record-breaking $34.5 million at auction.

Today, the market for Frankenthaler's work is robust. Her paintings from the 1950s and 1960s, showcasing her pioneering "soak stain" technique, are particularly sought after, with some reaching eight figures at auction. Even lesser-known pieces can command significant prices, driven by a growing pool of collectors interested in Abstract Expressionism and the works of influential women artists.

This market surge isn't just about financial gain. It reflects a renewed appreciation for Frankenthaler's artistic genius. Her ability to capture emotion and light through color continues to resonate with viewers and collectors, placing her firmly among the most valuable and influential artists of the 20th century.

Helen Frankenthaler Artworks For Sale 

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