Collector’s Choice: Helen Frankenthaler


“Jacob’s Ladder” by Helen Frankenthaler

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Although this painting shares a name with the biblical tale of Jacob’s dreamed ascent toward heaven, and also with an ancient Egyptian toy, Frankenthaler insisted this work had no illustrational intention: “The picture developed (bit by bit while I was working on it) into shapes symbolic of an exuberant figure and ladder, therefore Jacob’s Ladder.

Working in New York in the 1950s, Frankenthaler painted large-scale unprimed canvases on the floor to explore new ways of handling distinctively thinned paint. The artist said she borrowed from Jackson Pollock her “concern with line, fluid line, calligraphy, and … experiments with line not as line but as shape.”

 

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Helen Frankenthaler was an American abstract expressionist painter. She was a major contributor to the history of postwar American painting. Wikipedia
Died: December 27, 2011, Darien, CT
Spouse: Stephen M. DuBrul Jr. (m. 1994–2011), Robert Motherwell (m. 1958–1971)
Periods: Lyrical abstraction, Post-painterly abstraction, Color Field, Modern art, Abstract expressionism