Frankenthaler, Helen

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Portrait of Helen Frankenthaler (click to view image source)
Helen Frankenthaler
(to view image author and license, click here)
Frankenthaler, Helen Gender: F
born on 12 December 1928 at 23:30 (= 11:30 PM )
Place New York NY, USA, 40n42, 74w00
Timezone EST h5w (is standard time)
Data source
From memory
Rodden Rating A
Collector: Rodden
Astrology data s_su.18.gif s_sagcol.18.gif 20°56' s_mo.18.gif s_capcol.18.gif 01°29 Asc.s_vircol.18.gif 18°12'


American artist; one of the foremost contemporary abstract painters whose work was recognized by 1949. Her first solo exhibition was at 23, in 1952. Her paintings are lyrical and sensuous, color, shapes and edges, purely physical, many monumental works. She used an evocative staining technique, thinned-down oils that soaked into unprimed canvas. Later she turned to acrylics, lithographs and works on paper.

Her father, a Supreme Court Justice, provided a privileged Park Avenue Jewish background for the family, including two older sisters, of cultural and educational opportunities. She showed artistic ability from the age of ten. Her father died when she was 11. By the time she was15, she had discovered her passion for painting.

Attending Bennington College at 17, she studied and painted. Her first trip to Europe was in the summer of 1948 at age 20. The following year she received her inheritance and moved into her own New York apartment. She graduated Bennington in 1949 and joined a group of New York City artists, later known as the second generation of abstract expressionists. She was one of a few fledgling painters who had the insight and the opportunity to read the beginnings of a new phase of art as it first appeared on the walls of a few courageous galleries.

On 4/06/1958 she married Robert Motherwell, a leading artist of the first generation of abstract expressionists. Their honeymoon in Europe was her fifth trip abroad. They remained married for 13 years.

She died after a long unspecified illness at her Darien, CT home on December 27, 2011.

Link to Wikipedia biography


  • Financial : Inherited money 12 December 1949 (Inheritance from dad)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Social : Begin Travel 1948 (Trip to Europe at 20)
  • Work : Published/ Exhibited/ Released 1952 (First solo exhibit)
  • Relationship : Marriage 6 April 1958 (Robert Motherwell)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Death by Disease 27 December 2011 (Unspecified illness, age 83)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.

Source Notes

LMR quotes an art dealer, from her, c.1965


  • Vocation : Art : Fine art artist (Abstract)
  • Family : Childhood : Advantaged (Wealth and privilege)
  • Family : Childhood : Order of birth (Third of three girls)
  • Lifestyle : Financial : Gain - Inheritance
  • Family : Relationship : Mate - Noted (Robert Motherwell)
  • Notable : Book Collection : Profiles Of Women
  • Family : Childhood : Family traumatic event (Age 11 when dad died)
  • Personal : Death : Long life more than 80 yrs
  • Personal : Death : Illness/ Disease