Helen Frankenthaler

American, born 1928

Titian Center, 1968

Acrylic on canvas

87 by 47 inches

Signed Frankenthaler and dated ’68 lower right

Titian Center is a quintessential example of the innovative stain technique Frankenthaler developed in 1952, in which she applied large pools of thinned pigment to raw canvas, allowing the surface to absorb the paint much like watercolor on paper. There is some element of chance to the final effect of these paintings, as variations in saturation of the pigment and permeability of the canvas create effects that can’t entirely be controlled by the artist.

Even though she moved at the center of the New York art world, it was not until a 1969 exhibition of her work at the Whitney Museum of American Art that Frankenthaler was recognized as a highly accomplished artist in her own right. Other artists, including Kenneth Noland and Morris Louis, recognized the potential in her technique and took it up with their own variations. They along with Frankenthaler came to be known as the color field painters.