Helen Frankenthaler, Madame Matisse, 1983. Acrylic on canvas, 60x122 1/2 inches.


Born in 1928 in New York City.

Frankenthaler is best known for changing the direction of Abstract Expressionism in the 1950s when she began pouring cans of paint directly onto unsized, unstretched canvas.  Madame Matisse is an example of how acrylic paint improved Frankenthaler's technique. The water-based paint helped intensify color stains and control the halo effect that oil paint produced.

Regarding the women's movement, Frankenthaler once said in an interview: "...the question of sex will take care of itself." However, Frankenthaler did speak at the 1971 Conference of Women in the Visual Arts, which was held in protest of the exclusion of women from the Corcoran Gallery's 1971 biennial show. Among other speakers were artists whose work can be found in this exhibit: Lois Mailou Jones, Miriam Schapiro, and June Wayne.

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