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Giving up One's Mark: Helen Frankenthaler in the 1960s and 1970s

Sunday, November 9, 2014–Sunday, February 15, 2015

Helen Frankenthaler (American, 1928–2011). The Human Edge, 1967. Acrylic on canvas, 124 x 93 1/4 inches (315 x 236.9 cm). Collection Everson Museum of Art. Museum purchase to honor Max W. Sullivan, Director, on the occasion of the opening of the new building. © 2014 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

1905 Albright Building

Helen Frankenthaler (American, 1928–2011) had her first solo exhibition at Tibor de Nagy Gallery in 1951, an exhibition that synthesized the most radical aspects of works by Arshile Gorky, Willem de Kooning, and Jackson Pollock, with ambitious canvases of textured surfaces, pale color, and calligraphic drawing. The following year, with Mountains and Sea, 1952, she created another kind of painterly space by staining unprimed canvas with oil paint while allowing telltale signs of drawing to remain.

This exhibition will focus on the painter’s development during the 1960s and 1970s, a period that marks her transition from oil to acrylic paint, and from gestural abstraction to robust images of consolidated color and tonal nuance. It will include approximately seventeen paintings and a selection of works on paper. These will range from Frankenthaler’s monumental, mural-sized canvases, to more diminutive paintings and paper works that provide an intimate glimpse into her creative process. For a painter like Frankenthaler, the smaller canvas, like the work on paper, offered a way to experiment. The equivalent of dress rehearsals, these modest works tell us a lot about how she approached image making.

Organized by Chief Curator Emeritus Douglas Dreishpoon, this twenty-year survey will explore how Frankenthaler’s notion of abstraction expanded during these decades, the extent to which landscape persisted as subject matter in her works, how subtle changes of techniques affected the way her images were conceived, and how drawing continues to inform the creative process.

This exhibition is curated by Douglas Dreishpoon in cooperation with the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation.

Museum admission is required to view this special exhibition on M&T FIRST FRIDAYS @ THE GALLERY

Related Events

Fields of Color Gala
Saturday, November 8, 2014, 6:30 pm

Helen Frankenthaler in the 1960s and 1970s: A Conversation
Sunday, November 9, 2014, 11:30 am

AK Members’ Reception
Thursday, November 20, 2014, 5–7 pm

Lecture by Chief Curator Emeritus Dr. Douglas Dreishpoon: “Helen Frankenthaler and Paul Feeley: An Enduring Friendship”
Friday, December 5, 2014, 8 pm

Art’scool Educators’ Workshop: Helen Frankenthaler and Paul Feeley
Tuesday, January 13, 2015, 4–6 pm

Adult Studio Art Workshop—Helen Frankenthaler: Giving up One’s Mark
Saturday, January 17, 2015, 1–3 pm

Film Screening & Discussion: Painters Painting & “Frankenthaler and Her Contemporaries”
Saturday, January 24, 2015, 2–4:30 pm

Family Workshop: Paul Feeley and Helen Frankenthaler
Saturday, February 7, 2015, 11 am–1 pm

Related Lesson Plan

Soak-Stained Landscapes
(For Grades 6-12)

Related News

The artful evolution of Helen Frankenthaler (The Buffalo News)


Art’scool Educators’ Workshop: Helen Frankenthaler and Paul Feeley
Tuesday, January 13, 2015, 4–6 pm