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Weights and Shapes
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Weights and Shapes
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About the item

Radiating an aura of calm and balance, Helen Frankenthalers Weights and Shapes exemplifies the artists pioneering approach to depicting volume and mass through lyrical abstraction. The present work is a product of the artists move towards visible gesture and mark-making in the late 1970s, and is rife with surface variation and impasto in addition to the expansive stains for which she well known. Contextualizing this mode of working as a means of producing abstract climates, Frankenthaler pursued a painterly strategy that relied on the interaction of color and line in order to forge complex rhythmic interplays and a sense of volume in her work, imbuing her paintings with a spatial presence without relying on specific representations. In order to achieve the inimitable visual effect of the present work, Frankenthaler applied pigment to her canvas, allowing it to soak in, producing an ethereal stain that would at once become inextricable from the fibers of the support. Frankenthalers inventiveness made her one of the most important painters in post-war abstraction, cementing her role as a leader of the Color Field movement. By developing a process that rendered a completely distinct effect from that of laying paint on top of canvas, Frankenthaler helped to establish the canvas as integral to the object quality of the work itself, and in addition, was hugely influential to other artists of the day such as Morris Louis and Kenneth Noland.\nThe present work is rife with the interplay between Frankenthalers pioneering stain technique, and compositionally sophisticated inflections of vibrant color. Springing out against the serene background are glowing hues of green, blue, red, and yellow. When taken as a whole, these chromatic deposits imbue Weights and Shapes with a musical quality; the smoldering orange passage is a sharp staccato note, ringing over the attenuated silence of the muted ground, and the subdued mustard running along the bottom of the canvas a triumphant bass, vital and booming.\nThe stain itself exhibits a startling complexity and vibrancy, modulating between more passive spreads and triumphant swooping gestures. Additionally this ground transitions between moments of incredible material density and rich color, and lighter more delicate passages, which seem to dance along the surface of the work. Taken together, these elements establish Weights and Shapes as a culmination of Frankenthalers mastery over the elusive and most fundamental elements of painting.\nSigned, titled and dated 1983 on the reverse 
US
NY, US
US

medium

Acrylic on canvas

creator

Frankenthaler, Helen

condition

This work is in very good condition overall. There is light evidence of handling along the edges. Under very close inspection, a few unobtrusive pinpoint losses are visible to the brown pigment. Under Ultraviolet light inspection, there is no evidence of restoration. Framed. In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.

dimensions

84 by 137 1/2 in. 213.4 by 349.3 cm.

exhibition

New York, André Emmerich Gallery, Helen Frankenthaler: New Paintings, November - December 1983, pl. 1, illustrated in color

provenance

John Berggruen Gallery, San Francisco Acquired from the above by the present owner

signedDate

Signed, titled and dated 1983 on the reverse 

artist_range_end

2011

artist_range_start

1928

consignmentDesignation

Property from an Important American Collector

creator_nationality_dates

1928 - 2011


*Note: The price is not recalculated to the current value. It refers to the actual final price at the time the item was sold.

*Note: The price is not recalculated to the current value. It refers to the actual final price at the time the item was sold.


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