“I am very poor at naming [paintings]… I don’t like sentimental…”

Art of Quotation

helen 4 wp“I am very poor at naming [paintings]… I don’t like sentimental titles. One names a picture in order to refer to it” –Helen Frankenthaler, painter

The painter and printmaker Helen Frankenthaler was among the most influential artists of the mid-twentieth-century. Introduced early in her career to major Abstract Expressionists artists such as Jackson Pollock and Franz Kline (and later marrying Robert Motherwell), Frankenthaler was influenced by Abstract Expressionist painting practices, but developed her own distinct approach to the style. She invented the “soak-stain” technique, in which she poured turpentine-thinned paint onto canvas, producing luminous color washes that appeared to merge with the canvas and deny any hint of three-dimensional illusionism. Her breakthrough gave rise to the movement promoted by the influential art critic Clement Greenberg as the “next big thing” in American art: Color Field painting, marked by airy compositions that celebrated the joys of pure…

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