Helen Frankenthaler, American Legend (1928 – 2011)
I wonder if my pictures are more “lyrical” [that loaded word!] because I’m a woman. Looking at my paintings as if they were painted by a woman is superficial, a side issue, like looking at Klines and saying they are bohemian. The making of serious painting is difficult and complicated for all serious painters. One must be oneself, whatever.
* Helen Frankenthaler, source of her woman artist quotes on modern art & paintings: ‘Interview with Helen Frankenthaler’, Henry Geldzahler; ’Artforum’ 4. no. 2, October 1965, p. 39
Helen Frankenthaler died yesterday at the age of 83, and the art world is taking notice of her contribution to the history of art. She was a legend in her own time and an inspiration to thousands of young artists including myself. She began painting and seriously studying art as a young teenager and worked up until the very end of her life. The legacy that she left behind was more than just about her art; she influenced thousands of young women artists during that time when women were not as prominent as their male contemporaries in the world of art. She has been a favorite artist of mine as long as I can remember, and her techniques of staining the paint directly onto the canvas, along with her lyrical painterly style, will be remembered as one of the major innovations in modern art history and color field painting. Helen Frankenthaler has been quoted as saying, “I do not judge a painting as being good, I ask myself did I create something of beauty?”
Critics, collectors, and curators will undoubtedly agree that she created something of beauty. For that reason alone, she left the world better than she found it. Namaste, Ms. Frankenthaler.