“Mountains and Sea” by Helen Frankenthaler, 1952


What I love most about this painting, arguably the most important of Frankenthaler’s career, is that it found the perfect point of intersection between landscape and abstraction. Frankenthaler was only 23 when she finished this piece (!!!) and her time studying with another great abstractionist, Hans Hofmann, is crystal clear in elements of this painting. But what is also evident is that she stakes her claim on her own version of Abstract Expressionism with a more varied color palette and a lighter application of paint to the canvas. Only 23 years old…

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