Helen Frankenthaler

Emerging in the generation just behind the brawling boys' club that was Abstract Expressionism in the late 1940s, Helen Frankenthaler was the one who drew the most radical conclusions from Jackson Pollock's drip paintings, especially the way they dissolved linear forms into an overall optical fabric. In her 1952 breakthrough, Mountains and Sea, she took this insight a crucial step further, pouring diluted paint from coffee cans directly onto a large raw canvas on the floor of her Manhattan studio. This produced translucent washes of rose, blue and celadon that blurred all distinction between image and background. To the omnipotent critic...

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