16
16
Helen Frankenthaler
THE STRAND
Estimate
450,000650,000
JUMP TO LOT
16
Helen Frankenthaler
THE STRAND
Estimate
450,000650,000
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Contemporary Curated

|
New York

Helen Frankenthaler
1928 - 2011
THE STRAND
signed; titled and dated 1986 on the reverse
acrylic on canvas
78 by 61 7/8 in. 198.1 by 157.2 cm.
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Provenance

André Emmerich Gallery, Inc., New York
Private Collection, Scottsdale
Acquired from the above by the present owner

Exhibited

New York, André Emmerich Gallery, Inc., Helen Frankenthaler New Paintings, October - November 1986, pl. 7, n.p., illustrated in color

Catalogue Note

Executed in the years between two major exhibitions of her work at the Solomon R. Guggenheim and the Museum of Modern Art, The Strand is an absorbing and ethereal example of the evolution of Helen Frankenthaler’s oeuvre, and particularly representative of the juxtapositions between light and dark, stain and stroke, color and line, that define her mature work of the 1980s. Here, soft washes of meditative, Rothko-like pigment and flashes of brighter, undiluted colors synchronize in a muted harmony, as hazy maroon is given depth by subsequent stains of blue and grey hues. Glimpses of green and red accent the composition as the prominent strokes of white elevate the vertical swathes beneath. While the central focus of the painting is evocative of the energetic gestures that defined Frankenthaler’s earlier output, the peripheral expanses of soft, earthy tones bring a sense of quiet serenity to The Strand that elegantly contrasts with this dynamism.

The rich washes of color Frankenthaler orchestrates across the surface of this canvas masterfully demonstrate the “soak-stain” technique which has characterized her legacy. In her signature process, the artist would dilute her paint with turpentine, allowing it to fully soak into the fibers of a raw canvas, thus fusing the paint with its material support, and drawing focus to the canvas as an integral part of the work itself. Following her divorce from Robert Motherwell in 1971, Frankenthaler embarked upon a decade of experimentation with other methods and mediums, such as steel sculptures, woodcuts, and set and costume designs, and by 1986, she had amassed a repertoire of techniques and signatures that established her as among the most talented and inventive painters of the period. While her unique gestural forms were influenced by Jackson Pollock’s drips, unlike the forceful brushwork of her male counterparts, Frankenthaler’s motifs are much more fluid and harmonious, lending her work a rich and poetic quality. In The Strand, her mastery of paint and innovative technique are immediately recognizable in this powerful display of a mature artist at the height of her career.

Contemporary Curated

|
New York