Helen Frankenthaler
etching & aquatint

An original hand-signed Helen Frankenthaler etching & aquatint print.


Original etching and aquatint printed in colors on wove paper.

Hand-signed and dated in pencil in the margin lower right Frankenthaler ’01.

A superb impression of the definitive state, from the edition of 100, numbered in pencil in the margin also lower right. Published by Doctors Without Borders, New York; printed by Universal Limited Art Editions (ULAE), Bay Shore, New York.

21 5/8 x 31 ½ inches

Sheet Size: 28 ¼ x 37 ¾ inches

Frankenthaler’s groundbreaking invention, pouring diluted washes of pigment over unprimed canvas, better known as stain painting, signaled the beginning of Color Field painting. Her transparent layering of colors are perfectly rendered in the medium of aquatint. This is the last etching that the artist created and, according the printer, required numerous proofing sessions until the artist was satisfied.. The title “Causeway” perhaps refers to a thin red line that runs along the bottom of the print, perhaps a reference to the Florida toll road that travels across Biscayne Bay. Created as a benefit print for Doctors without Borders, an organization the artist deeply admired.

Originally studying under Rufino Tamayo, second-generation Abstract Expressionist Helen Frankenthaler became active in the New York School of the 1950s. Influenced by Arshile Gorky, Willem de Kooning and Jackson Pollock, Frankenthaler gained fame with her ‘soak-stain’ technique – applying thin washes of paint onto raw, unprimed canvas. Her iconic “Mountains and Sea” (1952) was an important work for Morris Louis, Kenneth Noland and other Color Field painters of the 1960s. Her works often evoked elements of landscape or figuration in the shaping of their forms, almost always improvised from start to finish. In addition to paintings, Frankenthaler was also attracted to printmaking – woodcuts, especially – with hers counting among the greatest contemporary works of that medium.