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Photography by Tom Powel Imaging

Photography by Tom Powel Imaging

Photography by Tom Powel Imaging

Photography by Tom Powel Imaging

Photography by Tom Powel Imaging

Photography by Tom Powel Imaging

Photography by Tom Powel Imaging

Photography by Tom Powel Imaging

Photography by Tom Powel Imaging

Photography by Tom Powel Imaging

Photography by Tom Powel Imaging

Photography by Tom Powel Imaging

Photography by Tom Powel Imaging

Photography by Tom Powel Imaging

Photography by Tom Powel Imaging

Photography by Tom Powel Imaging

Photography by Tom Powel Imaging

Photography by Tom Powel Imaging

Photography by Tom Powel Imaging

Photography by Tom Powel Imaging

Photography by Tom Powel Imaging

Photography by Tom Powel Imaging

Photography by Tom Powel Imaging

Photography by Tom Powel Imaging

Photography by Tom Powel Imaging

Photography by Tom Powel Imaging

Photography by Tom Powel Imaging

Photography by Tom Powel Imaging

Photography by Tom Powel Imaging

Photography by Tom Powel Imaging

Photography by Tom Powel Imaging

Photography by Tom Powel Imaging

Press Release - OLD

Mnuchin Gallery is proud to present The Art of Marriage, an exhibition of works by Helen Frankenthaler (1928-2011) and Robert Motherwell (1915-1991). Opening October 30, the exhibition will be on view through December 14, 2019. A reception will be held Wednesday, October 30 from 5:30-7:30pm.

Helen Frankenthaler and Robert Motherwell were married from 1958 to 1971. Both were formed, established artists, with highly individual ways of making art, at the time of their whirlwind courtship, which began at the end of 1957. They were almost certainly aware of each other’s work, since even though they had never really connected, they had traveled in the same aesthetic circles. Motherwell, forty-two when their romance began, was the youngest of the First Generation Abstract Expressionists, but one of the most distinguished, connected with the Surrealists, a veteran of Peggy Guggenheim’s gallery, known as a writer and translator, as well as a painter, and someone whose work Frankenthaler admired. Frankenthaler, who had just turned twenty-nine, was a rising star whose work was increasingly attracting attention and even beginning to influence older artists. Despite the obvious differences in their work – and in the way they made their work – the two painters shared fundamental convictions: that their art sprang from internal imperatives, that the painter’s role was to reveal the unseen, not to report on the visible, that gesture and color were potent carriers of emotion, that the art of the present was seamlessly connected to the art of the past, and more.

During the years of their marriage, both Frankenthaler and Motherwell continued to pursue their individual paths, but at the same time, certain commonalities and sympathies emerged in their work. During their honeymoon in Spain and France, they first worked side by side in their hotel room, then occupied studios in close proximity, in a rented villa in Saint-Jean-de-Luz, making paintings that referred, obliquely, to places they visited together. Before her marriage, Frankenthaler had not explored the potential of collage, which Motherwell had made the basis of some of his most potent and inventive work. In the 1960s, Frankenthaler experimented, briefly, with the technique. Motherwell investigated the potential of staining, a technique Frankenthaler use extensively, in a series of works on Japanese paper, the Lyric Suite. And there are many other connections, some more subtle, some more obvious.

This exhibition concentrates primarily on work, in various media, made during the thirteen productive years that Frankenthaler and Motherwell spent together, in an effort to reveal both cross-fertilization and individuality. By also including a selection of works that postdate their marriage, the exhibition explores the persistent echoes, long after they parted, of the effect these remarkable artists had on one another. A substantial, fully illustrated catalogue, authored by Karen Wilkin, will discuss the couple’s relationship, their influence on each other’s work, and their independence, and present, as well, an idea of their life together.

The exhibition comprises important loans from private collections, including major canvases and works in other mediums by both painters spanning the earliest years of their relationship through the years following their marriage. The loans include some of Motherwell’s iconic collages along with some of the rare works in the medium that Frankenthaler made in response to his example; a group of Motherwell’s unique Lyric Suite series, ink on rice paper; and an unusually large, celebratory 1959 Frankenthaler oil on paper. In addition, significant works from the collections of the Whitney Museum and the Grey Art Gallery, New York University will be on view.

Selected Works

Selected Works Thumbnails

Helen Frankenthaler
Untitled
1958
mixed media and collage on paper
11 x 8 1/2 inches (27.9 x 21.6 cm)

Helen Frankenthaler
Untitled
1958
mixed media on paper
12 x 8 1/2 inches (30.5 x 21.6 cm) 

Robert Motherwell
Diary of a Painter
1958
oil and charcoal on canvas
70 1/4 x 99 1/2 inches (178.4 x 252.7 cm)

Robert Motherwell
Afternoon in Barcelona
1958
acrylic and oil on canvas
54 x 73 inches (137.2 x 185.4 cm) 

Robert Motherwell
Hein, Ma Vie? 
1958
oil and pasted papers on industrial corrugated cardboard
21 1/2 x 16 7/8 inches (54.6 x 42.9 cm) 

Robert Motherwell
Untitled
1958
mixed media collage on paper
14 1/4 x 11 1/4 inches (36.2 x 28.6 cm) 

Helen Frankenthaler
Courtyard of El Greco's House
1959
oil on canvas
45 3/4 x 60 1/2 inches (116.2 x 153.7 cm) 

Helen Frankenthaler
New Year Greeting
December 1959
mixed media on paper
42 1/2 x 85 1/4 inches (108 x 216.5 cm) 

Helen Frankenthaler
Untitled
1959
oil and collage on paper
14 x 11 inches (35.6 x 27.9 cm)

Robert Motherwell
California
1959
oil and charcoal on canvas
69 3/4 x 89 1/2 inches (177.2 x 227.3 cm) 

Robert Motherwell
Raging Collage
1960
oil and pasted paper on paper mounted on board
28 3/4 x 22 1/2 inches (73 x 57.2 cm) 

Helen Frankenthaler
Black with Shadows
1961
oil on canvas
76 x 87 inches (193 x 221 cm) 

Helen Frankenthaler
Bingo
1962
oil and collage on paper
18 1/2 x 24 3/4 inches (47 x 62.9 cm) 

Robert Motherwell
Beside the Sea, with Black and White
1962
oil and pasted paper on Strathmore paper
29 x 23 inches (73.7 x 58.4 cm) 

Robert Motherwell
Summertime in Italy, No. 28
1962
oil and charcoal on canvas
96 1/2 x 72 inches (245.1 x 182.9 cm) 

Robert Motherwell
Cafetiere Filtres
1963
oil and pasted papers on paperboard
39 3/4 x 26 3/4 inches (101 x 67.9 cm) 

Helen Frankenthaler
Saturn Revisited
1964
acrylic on canvas
84 1/4 x 53 inches (214 x 134.6 cm)

Helen Frankenthaler
Pompeii
1965
acrylic on canvas
58 x 80 inches (147.3 x 203.2 cm) 

Robert Motherwell
Lyric Suite
1965
ink on Japanese rice paper
9 x 11 inches (22.9 x 27.9 cm) 

Robert Motherwell
Lyric Suite
1965
ink on Japanese rice paper
11 x 9 inches (27.9 x 22.9 cm) 

Robert Motherwell
Lyric Suite
1965
ink on Japanese rice paper 
11 x 9 inches (27.9 x 22.9 cm) 

Robert Motherwell
Lyric Suite
1965
ink on Japanese rice paper 
11 x 9 inches (27.9 x 22.9 cm) 

Robert Motherwell
Beside the Sea No. 41
1966
oil and acrylic on paper
29 x 22 7/8 inches (73.7 x 58.1 cm) 

Robert Motherwell
Open #93: In Medium Ultramarine Blue with Charcoal Line
1969
acrylic and charcoal on canvas
60 1/4 x 40 inches (153 x 101.6 cm)

Helen Frankenthaler
Avebury
1972
acrylic on canvas
57 7/8 x 80 inches (139.4 x 203.2 cm) 

Helen Frankenthaler
Corniche
1974
acrylic on canvas 
72 x 96 inches (182.9 x 243. cm) 

Helen Frankenthaler
Constellation
1977
acrylic on canvas
84 x 108 inches (213.4 x 274.3 cm)

Helen Frankenthaler
Blue Reach
1978
acrylic on canvas
71 x 177 1/2 inches (180.3 x 450.9 cm) 

Robert Motherwell
The Studio
1987
acrylic and charcoal on canvas 
60 x 72 inches (152.4 x 182.9 cm) 

Helen Frankenthaler
Untitled
1958
mixed media and collage on paper
11 x 8 1/2 inches (27.9 x 21.6 cm)

Helen Frankenthaler
Untitled
1958
mixed media on paper
12 x 8 1/2 inches (30.5 x 21.6 cm) 

Robert Motherwell
Diary of a Painter
1958
oil and charcoal on canvas
70 1/4 x 99 1/2 inches (178.4 x 252.7 cm)

Robert Motherwell
Afternoon in Barcelona
1958
acrylic and oil on canvas
54 x 73 inches (137.2 x 185.4 cm) 

Robert Motherwell
Hein, Ma Vie? 
1958
oil and pasted papers on industrial corrugated cardboard
21 1/2 x 16 7/8 inches (54.6 x 42.9 cm) 

Robert Motherwell
Untitled
1958
mixed media collage on paper
14 1/4 x 11 1/4 inches (36.2 x 28.6 cm) 

Helen Frankenthaler
Courtyard of El Greco's House
1959
oil on canvas
45 3/4 x 60 1/2 inches (116.2 x 153.7 cm) 

Helen Frankenthaler
New Year Greeting
December 1959
mixed media on paper
42 1/2 x 85 1/4 inches (108 x 216.5 cm) 

Helen Frankenthaler
Untitled
1959
oil and collage on paper
14 x 11 inches (35.6 x 27.9 cm)

Robert Motherwell
California
1959
oil and charcoal on canvas
69 3/4 x 89 1/2 inches (177.2 x 227.3 cm) 

Robert Motherwell
Raging Collage
1960
oil and pasted paper on paper mounted on board
28 3/4 x 22 1/2 inches (73 x 57.2 cm) 

Helen Frankenthaler
Black with Shadows
1961
oil on canvas
76 x 87 inches (193 x 221 cm) 

Helen Frankenthaler
Bingo
1962
oil and collage on paper
18 1/2 x 24 3/4 inches (47 x 62.9 cm) 

Robert Motherwell
Beside the Sea, with Black and White
1962
oil and pasted paper on Strathmore paper
29 x 23 inches (73.7 x 58.4 cm) 

Robert Motherwell
Summertime in Italy, No. 28
1962
oil and charcoal on canvas
96 1/2 x 72 inches (245.1 x 182.9 cm) 

Robert Motherwell
Cafetiere Filtres
1963
oil and pasted papers on paperboard
39 3/4 x 26 3/4 inches (101 x 67.9 cm) 

Helen Frankenthaler
Saturn Revisited
1964
acrylic on canvas
84 1/4 x 53 inches (214 x 134.6 cm)

Helen Frankenthaler
Pompeii
1965
acrylic on canvas
58 x 80 inches (147.3 x 203.2 cm) 

Robert Motherwell
Lyric Suite
1965
ink on Japanese rice paper
9 x 11 inches (22.9 x 27.9 cm) 

Robert Motherwell
Lyric Suite
1965
ink on Japanese rice paper
11 x 9 inches (27.9 x 22.9 cm) 

Robert Motherwell
Lyric Suite
1965
ink on Japanese rice paper 
11 x 9 inches (27.9 x 22.9 cm) 

Robert Motherwell
Lyric Suite
1965
ink on Japanese rice paper 
11 x 9 inches (27.9 x 22.9 cm) 

Robert Motherwell
Beside the Sea No. 41
1966
oil and acrylic on paper
29 x 22 7/8 inches (73.7 x 58.1 cm) 

Robert Motherwell
Open #93: In Medium Ultramarine Blue with Charcoal Line
1969
acrylic and charcoal on canvas
60 1/4 x 40 inches (153 x 101.6 cm)

Helen Frankenthaler
Avebury
1972
acrylic on canvas
57 7/8 x 80 inches (139.4 x 203.2 cm) 

Helen Frankenthaler
Corniche
1974
acrylic on canvas 
72 x 96 inches (182.9 x 243. cm) 

Helen Frankenthaler
Constellation
1977
acrylic on canvas
84 x 108 inches (213.4 x 274.3 cm)

Helen Frankenthaler
Blue Reach
1978
acrylic on canvas
71 x 177 1/2 inches (180.3 x 450.9 cm) 

Robert Motherwell
The Studio
1987
acrylic and charcoal on canvas 
60 x 72 inches (152.4 x 182.9 cm) 

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