Helen Frankenthaler is regarded as one of the major painters of Post-War American Abstract Expressionism. Born into a Jewish family in New York City, Frankenthaler studied art, first at the Dalton School in New York, and then at Bennington College in Vermont. In the 1950s, Frankenthaler was inspired by American Abstract Expressionism, especially by the work of Jackson Pollock. She began to experiment with pouring paint directly onto canvas, but, unlike Pollock, Frankenthaler used thinned paint on untreated canvases, creating the effect of a large watercolor; this revolutionary technique launched the second generation of the Color Field school of painting.
Even though Frankenthaler’s poured works appear non-representational, they are often based on real or imaginary landscapes. In addition to her two-dimensional work, Frankenthaler produced welded steel sculptures and explored ceramics, prints, and illustrated books. Frankenthaler taught at New York University, Harvard, Princeton, and Yale, and was married to American painter, Robert Motherwell until 1971. Frankenthaler is in many important collections and museums around the world, including the Whitney, Metropolitan, Smithsonian, Guggenheim and MoMA.