Helen Frankenthaler

1928
Born on December 12th, in New York City, the youngest of three daughters to Martha and Alfred Frankenthaler, a New York State Supreme Court Justice.

1945
Graduated from The Dalton School, New York in June. In the autumn, she continued to study painting with Rufino Tamayo, formerly her instructor at Dalton.

1946
Entered Bennington College, Vermont, in March. Studied painting with Paul Freely.

1947
Studied at the Art Students League, New York, with Vaclav Vytlacil, and works as production assistant for Maude Kemper Riley’s publication, MKR’s Art Outlook.

1948
Travelled to Europe with actress friend, Gaby Rodgers, and visited London, Amsterdam, Brussels, Switzerland and Paris. Shares a studio on 21st Street in New York with Sonya Rudikoff, a writer.

1949
Studied with Wallace Harrison at his New York studio and works for the Association of American Artists gallery during non-resident term. Graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Bennington College, Vermont. Enrolled in non-credited courses in Art History at Columbia University, New York.

1950
Met art critic Clement Greenberg and members of the New York School. Organizes Bennington College Alumnae Paintings exhibition at Jacques Seligman & Company, New York. Studied with Hans Hofmann for three weeks in Provincetown, Massachusetts. Saw first Jackson Pollock exhibition at Betty Parsons Gallery, New York.


1953
Morris Louis and Kenneth Noland visited Frankenthaler’s studio in April for the first time with Clement Greenberg and saw Mountains and Sea and other paintings. Travelled extensively throughout Spain, including Altamira and repeat visits to The Prado. Travels from Majorca to Barcelona and south of France; sees the work of Matisse, Picasso, Chagall and Léger.

1958
Married Robert Motherwell on April 6th.

1960
First retrospective exhibition at The Jewish Museum, with a catalogue by Frank O’Hara.

1961
Established first Provincetown studio in a barn at the Days Lumber Yard and continues to paint summers in Provincetown through 1969. Began to create prints at Tanya Grossman’s workshop, Universal Limited Art Editions (ULAE), West Islip, New York.

1962
Taught class for ailing William Baziotes at Hunter College, New York. Travelled to California, visited San Francisco and drove along Big Sur to Los Angeles. Experimented with acrylic paints.

1963
Served on the Fulbright Selection Committee through 1965.

1964
Experimented with ceramic earthenware and made sixteen plates at Bennington Pottery, Bennington, Vermont, along with David Smith, Alexander Liberman, and Cleve Gray.

1966
Taught at School of Art and Architecture, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut.

1967
Serves as Trustee, Bennington College, Vermont, through 1982. Moves Provincetown studio from bay to wooded area away from shore. Continues to teach, giving seminars at School of the Arts, Columbia University, New York and School of Fine Arts, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, teaches a course at School of Visual Arts, New York.

1968
Awarded the Joseph E. Temple Gold Medal at the 163rd Annual Exhibition, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia. Became the first woman elected Fellow at Calhoun College, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut.

1969
Retrospective exhibition, directed by E.C. Goossen, opens at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York and tours through the United States and Europe.

1970
Received the Spirit of Achievement Award, Albert Einstein School of Medicine, Yeshiva University, New York, and Eight Lively Arts (ELA) Award. Taught seminar at Hunter College in New York.

1971
Divorced from Robert Motherwell. Monograph by Barbara Rose published by Harry N. Abrams, Inc., New York. Taught at Princeton University. Created banner paintings for the set of Erick Hawkins Dance Company’s production, Of Love.

1972
Received the Garret Award at the 70th American Exhibition, The Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois. Visited Rome where she designs the poster for Spoleto Festival, later travels to Ischia, Italy, and London. Produced ten welded sculptures at the London studio of Anthony Caro.

1973
Served as Member of the Corporation of Yaddo, Saratoga Springs, New York, through 1978. Taught seminar at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. Releases first woodcut, East and Beyond, with ULAE. Worked in Rome at graphics workshop 2RC Editrice. Completed ceramic tile wall commission for North Central Bronx Hospital in The Bronx, New York (installed in July 1974), and installed commission of two large paintings, Shield and Copper Afternoons, for First Wisconsin Bank, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

1974
Elected member of the National Institute of Arts and Letters (now called the American Academy of Arts and Letters). Receives Creative Artist Laureate Award, American Jewish congress.

1976
Received the Arts and Humanities Award from Yale University, New Haven Connecticut. Conducted seminars at Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, Harvard University, and Radcliffe College, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Begins working at Tyler Graphics, Bedford Village, New York. Commissioned by Fort Worth Art Museum, Texas to design Bicentennial commemorative poster.

1977
Participated in a seminar on woodcuts at Detroit Institute of Arts, Michigan. Held a seminar at Bard College, Annadale-on-Hudson, New York. Releases the woodcut, Essence Mulberry.

1978
WNET/Channel 13, New York, broadcast Perry Miller Adato’s film, 'Frankenthaler: Toward a New Climate'.

1979
Received the Alumni Award for Outstanding Achievement, Bennington College, Vermont.

1984
Designed the sets and costumes for production of Prokofiev’s Number Three by the Royal Ballet at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

1985
Served on the National Council on the Arts, a part of the National Endowment for the Arts, through 1992.

1986
Received the New York City Mayor’s Award of Honor for Arts and Culture. Worked on the Broome Street series at 2RC Editrice workshop. Conducted mater classes at the Santa Fe Institute of the Fine Arts. Worked on graphic editions and monoprints at Mixografia Workshop.

1988
Served as nominator for the MacArthur Fellows Program. Canal Street XII chosen for a poster and playbill for the New York City Ballet to commemorate fortieth anniversary.

1989
Received the Connecticut Arts Award. Monograph by John Elderfield published by Harry N. Abrams, Inc, New York.

1990
Elected a member of the American Academy.

1991
Served as Vice-Chancellor of the American Academy.

1992
Member of the Advisory Committee to the Board, Santa Fe Institute of Fine Arts through 1993.

1993
Released Freefall and Radius, two paper-pulp woodcuts published by Tyler Graphics.

1994
Married Stephen M. DuBrul on June 18th. Received the Distinguished Artist Award for Lifetime Achievement from the College Art Association, New York, and Lotos Medal of Merit from the Lotos Club, New York. Began work on large-scale paintings on paper and continued to work only on paper through the 1990s until 2002.

1995
Received the Artist of the Year Award from A.R.T. (Art Resources in Teaching), Chicago. Releases 'Reflections', a series of color lithographs with Tyler Graphics. Published first limited edition book, 'Valentine for Mr. Wonderful', with Tyler Graphics. Commenced work on 'Tales of a Genji' woodcut project with Yasu Shibata at Tyler Graphics, released in 1998.

1996
Print Catalogue Raisonné by Pegram Harrison and Suzanne Boorsch published by Harry N. Abrams, Inc., New York. Facsimile of 'Valentine for Mr. Wonderful' published by Rizzoli International Publications.

1997
Releases 'This is not a Book', a 36 page limited edition book of nine intaglios and two color lithographs, with Tyler Graphics.

1999
Won the Jerusalem Prize for Arts and Letters, given by the Friends of Israel’s National Academy of Arts and Design.

2000
Released monumental 102 color triptych woodcut, 'Madame Butterfly', with Tyler Graphics.

2001
Received the National Medal of the Arts. Elected Honorary Member of the Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh and Academician of the National Academy of Design. Exhibits Lighthouse Series, paintings on paper. Made 'Magellan Series', a portfolio of seven intaglio prints, last print project with Tyler Graphics.

2003
Sister, Marjorie F. Iseman, dies on May 10th. Awarded the Skowhegan Medal for Painting. Worked again with Yasu Shibata on three Ukiyo-e Style woodcuts, released by Pace Editions in 2003 – 2005.

2004
Honored at the 40th Anniversary Celebration of the New York Studio School of Drawing, Painting, and Sculpture.

2005
Awarded Gold Medal of Honor by the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, 200th Anniversary Celebration. Inducted into the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame.

2007
Received the inaugural Nelson A. Rockefeller Award in Art from Purchase, New York. The Center for Contemporary Printmaking in Norwalk, Connecticut named the Printmaking Cottage after Frankenthaler. 'Book of Clouds', mixed media (aquatint, woodcut, pochoir) triptych print, is published by Pace Editions.

2009
Weeping Crabapple, a Ukiyo-e woodcut, is released by Pace Editions.

2011
Passed away in Darien, Connecticut.

SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS

1951-1958
Tibor de Nagy Gallery, New York

1959
André Emmerich Gallery, New York

1960
The Jewish Museum, New York (retrospective)

1961
Everett Ellin Gallery, Los Angeles, California
Galerie Lawrence, Paris
André Emmerich Gallery, New York

1962
Suzanne Lemberg Usdan Gallery, Bennington College, Vermont
Galleria dell'Ariete, Milan

1963
André Emmerich Gallery, New York
Galerie Lawrence, Paris

1964
Kasmin Limited, London

1965
David Mirvish Gallery, Toronto, Canada

1967
Windham College, Putney, Vermont
Nicholas Wilder Gallery, Los Angeles, California
Gertrude Kasle Gallery, Detroit, Michigan

1969
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, and European tour (retrospective of paintings)
André Emmerich Gallery, New York

1972
Portland Art Museum, Oregon
John Berggruen Gallery, San Francisco, California
Fendrick Gallery, Washington, D.C.
André Emmerich Gallery, New York

1973
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

1974
Swathmore College, Pennsylvania
Galerie André Emmerich, Zurich
Waddington Galleries II, London

1975
Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., and United States Tour
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

1977
Jacksonville Art Museum, Florida, and toured throughout the state
Greenberg Gallery, St. Louis, Missouri
André Emmerich Gallery, New York

1978
Atkins Museum of Fine Arts, Kansas City, Missouri
Suzanne Lemberg Usdan Gallery, Bennington College, Vermont
Janis C. Lee Gallery, Houston
Knoedler Gallery, London

1980
The Saginaw Art Museum, Michigan, and toured throughout the state
Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Massachusetts, and United States tour (retrospective of prints)

1981
The Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts
Knoedler Gallery, London
André Emmerich Gallery, New York
Thomas Segal Gallery, Boston

1985
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, and tour of the United States and Canada (retrospective of works on paper)

1987
McKissick Museum, The University of South Carolina, Columbia

1989
The Museum of Modern Art, New York, and United States tour (retrospective of paintings)

1993
National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., and tour of the United States and Japan (retrospective of prints)

1995
Dennos Museum Center, Northwestern Michigan College, Traverse City, Michigan

1998
'After Mountains and Sea', Solomon R. Guggenheim Museums, New York, Bilbao, and Berlin
'The Tales of Genji', Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and United States tour
'The Darker Palette', Savannah College of Art and Design, Georgia, and United States tour

1999
'A Selection of Paintings from the Collection of the Artist 1951-1992', Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase College, State University of New York, Purchase, New York

2000
'Helen Frankenthaler: On Paper', Bernard Jacobson Gallery, London

2002
Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven
'The Woodcuts', Naples Art Museum, Florida, and toured the United States and Japan

2003
Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami, Florida
Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh, Scotland (retrospective of paintings on paper)

2005
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra

2007
Suzanne Lemberg Usdan Gallery, Bennington College, Vermont

2008
'Helen Frankenthaler: Paintings 1959-2002', Bernard Jacobson Gallery, London

2010
'Helen Frankenthaler: Painting is Paper', Bernard Jacobson Gallery, London

2014
'Helen Frankenthaler: Paintings', Bernard Jacobson Gallery, New York
'Making Painting: Helen Frankenthaler and JMW Turner', Turner Contemporary, Margate, UK

2015
'Giving Up One's Mark: Helen Frankenthaler in the 1960's and 1970's', Albright-Knox Gallery, Buffalo, New York

 

SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS

1950
'Fifteen Unknowns: Selected by Artists of the Kootz Gallery', Kootz Gallery, New York

1952
'Exhibition of Painting and Sculpture Annual', Stable Gallery, New York

1955
'U.S. Paintings: Some Recent Directions', Stable Gallery, New York
'Vanguard 1955: A Painter's Selection of New American Paintings', Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota

1957
'Young America: The New York School - Second Generation Paintings by Twenty-Three Artists', Whitney Museum of American Art
'Artists of the New York School: Second Generation', The Jewish Museum, New York
'Recent American Acquisitions', The Museum of Modern Art, New York
'American Paintings: 1945-1957', Minneapolis Institute of the Arts, Minnesota

1958
'Nature in Abstraction', Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

1959
'Documenta II: Kunst nach 1945', Museum Friedericianum, Kassel
'V Biennale', Museu de Arte Moderna, São Paulo
'Première Biennale de Paris', Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris

1960
'Sixty American Painters, 1960: Abstract Expressionist Painting of the Fifties', Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota

1961
'American Abstract Expressionists and Imagists', Soloman R. Guggenheim Museum, New York

1962
'Art Since 1950', Seattle World's Fair, Washington

1963
'Directions: American Paintings', San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, California
'New Directions of American Art', The Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts
'Contemporary American Painting and Sculpture: 1963' , Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois

1964
'Post-Painterly Abstraction', Los Angeles Country Museum of Art, California
'Painting and Sculpture of a Decade: 1954-1964', The Tate Gallery, London
'A Decade of New Talent', American Federation of the Arts, travelling exhibition

1965
'40 Key Artists of the Mid-20th Century', Detroit Institute of Arts, Michigan
'Word and Image', Soloman R. Guggenheim Museum, New York
'1965 Annual Exhibition of Contemporary American Paintings', Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

1966
'XXXIII International Biennial Exhibition of Art', Venice
'Fifty Years of Modern Art 1916-1966', The Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio
'Art of the United States: 1670-1966', Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
'Two Decades of American Painting', International Council of The Museum of Modern Art, New York.

1967
'Color, Image and Form', Detroit Institute of Arts, Michigan,
'20th Century American Painting', Grand Rapids Art Museum, Michigan
'1967 Annual Exhibition of Contemporary American Painting', Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

1969
'New York Painting and Sculpture: 1940-1970', The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
'Twentieth-Century Art from the Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller Collection', The Museum of Modern Art, New York

1972
'Abstract Expressionism: The First and Second Generations', Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York
'Abstract Painting in the 70s', Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts
'Masters of the Sixties', Edmonton Art Gallery, Canada

1974
'The Great Decade of American Abstraction: Modernist Art 1960 to 1970', Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
'Frank O’Hara, A Poet Among Painters', Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
'Twelve American Painters', Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond

1975
'Color and Language', Museum of Modern Art, New York
'American Art Since 1945', Museum of Modern Art, New York, Bicentennial Circulating Exhibition, United States tour

1976
'In This Academy: 1805 – 1976' (Bicentennial exhibition), Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
'Three Decades of American Art Selected by the Whitney Museum of American Art', the Seibu Museum of Art, Tokyo
'Two Hundred Years of American Painting: A Bicentennial Exhibition', Baltimore Museum of Art, Maryland, tours United States and Europe

1977
'Paris-New York', Musée National d’Art Moderne, Paris
'Collectors Collecting: American Abstract Art Since 1945', San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, California

1978
'American Painting of the 1970s', Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York, and United States tour

1980
'The Fifties: Aspects of Painting in New York', Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.
'La pintura de los Estados Unidos de museos de la ciudad de Washington', Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes, Mexico City

1982
'The New York School: Four Decades', Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York

1983
'The Modern Drawing: 100 Works on Paper from the Museum of Modern Art', The Museum of Modern Art, New York

1987
'Treasures from the National Museum of American Art', National Museum of American Art, Washington, D.C. and United States tour

1988
'Fifty Years of Collecting: An Anniversary Selection, Painting Since World War II in North America', Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York
'Twentieth Century Paintings and Sculpture: Selections for the Twentieth Anniversary of the East Building', National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
'Stationene der Moderne', Berlinische Gallerie, Berlin
'Made in the Sixties: Paintings and Sculpture from the Permanent Collection of the Whitney Museum of American Art', Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

1994
'Debut: Selections for the Permanent Collection', Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, Missouri

1996
'Abstraction in the Twentieth Century: Total Risk, Freedom, Discipline', Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York


2001
'A Century of Drawing: Works on Paper from Degas to LeWitt', National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

2002
'American Legacy, A Gift to New York', Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
'New York School and Beyond: Selections from the Whitney Museum of American Art', Palazzo Reale di Milan, Italy

2005
'The Shape of Color: Excursions in Color Field Art 1950 – 2005', Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Canada
'In Private Hands: 200 Years of American Painting', Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia

2006
'New York, New York: Fifty Years of Art, Architecture, Cinema, Performance, Photography and Video', Grimaldi Forum, Monaco

2009
'Early Moderns: A Celebration of gifts from Gifford and Joann Phillips', The Phillips Collection Washington, D.C.
'Elles@centrepompidou', Centre Pompidou, Paris

2010
'The Changing Soil: Contemporary Landscape Painting', Nagoya / Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Nagoya, Japan

2016
‘Women of Abstract Expressionism’, Denver Art Museum, Colorado
‘Abstract Expressionism’, Royal Academy of Art, London

 

SELECTED COLLECTIONS

Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York
Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Canada
The Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois
Brooklyn Museum, New York
Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, New York
Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, de Young Museum, California
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C
The Israel Museum, Jerusalem
Johannesburg Art Gallery, South Africa
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California
Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Pompidou, Paris, France
The Museum of Modern Art, New York
National Galleries of Scotland
National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
The National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia
National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C.
Portland Art Museum, Oregon
San Francisco Museum of Art, California
Singapore Art Museum
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York
Tate, London
Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York