Untitled (P94-5)
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Untitled (P94-5)

Stephen Ongpin Fine Art

Date 1994

Period Late 20th century

Medium Acrylic on light brown paper, Pastel on canvas

Dimension 51.4 x 65.8 cm (20¹/₄ x 25⁷/₈ inches)

Works on paper were an important part of Helen Frankenthaler’s oeuvre throughout her career, and their significance grew in particular from the late 1970s onwards. As the artist has noted, ‘Working on paper can even replace working on canvas for me, for periods of time…more and more, paper is painting.’

This large sheet was drawn in 1994, during a period of a decade - between 1992 and 2002 - when Frankenthaler produced very few paintings and worked almost exclusively on paper. Speaking on the occasion of an exhibition of her works on paper from the decade of the 1990s, the artist said that ‘I get lost, whatever medium I’m working in – painting, sculpture, works on paper, graphics…for the time I am totally into creating a work. I am obsessed and the energy flows, the adrenalin flows, the ideas flow. I can’t work fast enough and that’s great. As I said before, to push is hell…I know when I started all these works on paper not too long ago, the first few felt slow and unresolved and then suddenly something clicked and I couldn’t get them out fast enough and I wanted more and more paper. Every so often I’d tear one up and my studio assistant would tremble but that’s the way it goes.’

In 1974 Frankenthaler began renting a summer house at Shippan Point in Stamford, Connecticut, facing the waters of Long Island Sound, and in 1978 she bought a home there, establishing a second studio. As has been pointed out, ‘the long, horizontal divisions and subtle tonalities of her paintings of the 1980s and 1990s can be read as subliminal reactions to the changing light and the seasonal variations of sky, sea, and beach, seen from her seaside Connecticut home.’ Indeed, the horizontal format common to much of Frankenthaler’s work, especially those on paper, has often been seen as indicative of a response to nature. However, as the artist pointed out in a 1997 interview, ‘Landscape is a loaded question for an abstract painter. When one looks at an abstract horizontal canvas, one more or less consciously perceives nature or a horizon or a view. One is not apt to think of a figurative reference, which is more apt to be vertical.’

Date: 1994

Period: Late 20th century

Medium: Acrylic on light brown paper, Pastel on canvas

Signature: Signed Frankenthaler in pencil at the lower right.

Dimension: 51.4 x 65.8 cm (20¹/₄ x 25⁷/₈ inches)

Provenance: Bobbie Greenfield Gallery, Santa Monica, in 1995
Knoedler & Company, New York
Gagosian Gallery, London
Acquired from them by a private collection
Anonymous sale, London, Christie’s, 1 July 2022, lot 695.

Exhibition: Santa Monica, Bobbie Greenfield Gallery, Helen Frankenthaler: Recent Prints and Paintings on Paper, 1995, unnumbered.

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Stephen Ongpin Fine Art

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