Abstract Climates: Helen Frankenthaler in Provincetown


About The Publication

Lise Motherwell, Elizabeth Smith, Daniel Belasco, Alicia G. Longwell, Terrie Sultan

First published in 2018 by the Provincetown Art Association and Museum with distribution by Yale University Press, New Haven and London

95 pages

An influential abstract expressionist and a pioneer in the Color Field movement, Helen Frankenthaler (1928–2011) spent several summers painting in Provincetown, Massachusetts. She first came in 1950 to the seaside town with a long history as an artist colony to study at Hans Hofmann’s studio school and would return for more than a decade while married to the artist Robert Motherwell. This finely illustrated publication explores the works from this formative time in Frankenthaler’s career, while also examining the artist’s innovative methods and process. Drawing inspiration from the natural scenery of Provincetown, Frankenthaler created paintings that reverberate with a suggestiveness of place that goes beyond the idea of landscape to capture the atmosphere and climate of the New England locale. This illuminating look into Frankenthaler’s development as an artist reveals how one particular location helped shape an abstract painter whose works never fit neatly within any category of subsequent abstraction.