Color Field Painting

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Color field painting, an abstract style that emerged in the 1950s following Abstract Expressionism, is characterized by canvases painted primarily with stripes, washes and fields of solid color. The first serious and critically acclaimed art movement to originate in the nation’s capital, Washington Color School was central to the larger movement. During the early sixties, painting was the term used to describe younger artists whose work were related to second generation abstract expressionism yet clearly pointed toward a new direction in American painting. Artist such as Clyfford Still, Mark Rothko, Morris Louis, Kenneth Noland, Helen Frankenthaler, Leon Berkowitz, Frank Stella and others eliminated recognizable imagery from their canvas and presented abstraction as an end in itself with each painting as one unified, cohesive, monolithic image.

Helen Frankenthaler is often identified mainly with her fragile, luminous Mountains and Seas of 1953. The early 1960s was the period of serial painting. Helen Frankenthaler was one artist who chose not follow critical requirement to develop and explore a dominant signature image. At the time Frankenthaler was requested by collectors to sign her paintings on the front of the picture rather than the back. They requested this to be done so her work would be more identifiable by the collectors and their friends.

In today’s decade Frankenthaler’s paintings do not need a visible signature in order to allow collectors to identify her works as hers. Her combination of style, techniques, and stained colors has gradually increased over the years. For many years, when Helen was little known, she insisted on painting on large-scale canvases, even though there was little chance of selling them in a world which was not yet willing to commit important wall space to her art (Emmerich, 2004,29).The significance of the painting is it tests the limits of how completely art can address peoples emotions and mind through the eye, just...
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