Helen Frankenthaler Foundation Extends Its Impact on Arts Education through Ongoing Initiative Fostering New Research and Engagement with Frankenthaler’s Practice
New York, NY—April 27, 2023—The Helen Frankenthaler Foundation announced today ten new recipients of its Frankenthaler Prints Initiative, an ongoing program for university-affiliated art museums that reflects the Foundation’s commitment to supporting undergraduate and graduate education in the visual arts and art history. The awardees include ten museums from across the country, each of which will receive a group of prints and five to ten related trial proofs drawn from the Foundation’s extensive collection of work by Frankenthaler. The museums also receive a one-time grant of $25,000 to develop a project or program for the study, presentation, and interpretation of the editions and proofs within a three-year timeframe.
Prints Initiative grantees are selected based on a demonstrated commitment to prints as a significant collecting area and teaching tool. These museums also have few, if any, Frankenthaler prints in their collections. University art museums awarded 2023 Frankenthaler Prints Initiative gifts include:
• The Block Museum of Art – Northwestern University, Evanston, IL
• Cantor Arts Center – Stanford University, Stanford, CA
• Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art – Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
• Georgia Museum of Art – University of Georgia, Athens, GA
• Grey Art Gallery – New York University, New York, NY
• Henry Art Gallery – University of Washington, Seattle, WA
• Lowe Art Museum – University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL
• North Dakota Museum of Art – University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, ND
• Syracuse University Art Museum – Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY
• University of New Mexico Art Museum – University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM
“We are delighted to launch phase two of the Frankenthaler Prints Initiative following the successful completion of the first round of the program,” remarked Elizabeth Smith, Executive Director of the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation. “These gifts advance the study of Frankenthaler’s work and invite new scholarly investigation about her printmaking practice. We are excited to see what fresh insights arise from the prints’ inclusion in curricula, curatorial programming, and other new academic and artistic contexts at universities fostering the next generation of artists and scholars.”
The Helen Frankenthaler Foundation launched the first cycle of its Prints Initiative in 2018 with the mission to enrich academic institutions’ collections and resources and promote scholarly research on Frankenthaler’s innovative contributions to the field of printmaking. The Initiative also amplifies the impact of Helen Frankenthaler’s legacy, both as one of the most important American abstract painters of the 20th century and as an outspoken champion of arts education, which was inspired by her experiences training at Bennington College and lecturing at arts schools around the country.
Ruth Fine, former Curator of Modern Prints and Drawings and Special Projects in Modern Art at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., a long-time friend of Frankenthaler and a leading authority on her prints, continues to serve as an advisor to the Foundation for this initiative, helping to select the prints for each museum. The works represent the range of media Frankenthaler used in her printmaking, including etching, lithography, monotype or monoprint, pochoir, screenprint, woodcut, and other techniques, as well as combinations of these methods. This work included artists’ books and several important posters.
“Printmaking was of key importance to many artists of Frankenthaler’s generation,” said Ruth Fine. “Her prints reveal how experimentation was key to every aspect of her practice, and her work regardless of media was fully integrated throughout her career. By increasing their understanding of Frankenthaler’s prints and related proofs, students will be able to more fully grasp the range and importance of her unique works on paper and canvas, as well as her approach to three-dimensional projects.”
“The Frankenthaler Prints Initiative advances the Foundation’s mission to support the visual arts through educational, research, and philanthropic projects,” said Lise Motherwell, Board Chair of the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation. “The Foundation is proud to promote Helen Frankenthaler’s artistic legacy through the Prints Initiative and through its social impact philanthropy.”
The inaugural round of the Frankenthaler Print Initiative in 2018 awarded gifts and grants to ten university art museums, including Blanton Museum of Art at The University of Texas in Austin; Bowdoin College Museum of Art; University of South Florida Contemporary Art Museum; Grunwald Center for the Graphic Arts/Hammer Museum, UCLA; The Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University; Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA); Princeton University Art Museum; RISD Museum, Rhode Island School of Design; SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah College of Art and Design; and Spencer Museum of Art, University of Kansas, Lawrence. Across those museums and their affiliated institutions, the Initiative generated nine exhibitions, four symposia, and three academic courses. Other programming highlights include printmaking workshops for local high-school students at SCAD Museum of Art, public programs and new projects in partnership with the Nasher Museum of Art’s teen program at Duke University, and public printmaking workshops geared toward teens and families at PAFA.
About the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation
Established and endowed by Helen Frankenthaler during her lifetime, the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation advances the artist’s legacy and inspires a new generation of practitioners through a range of philanthropic, educational, and research initiatives. Since becoming active in 2013, the Foundation has continued to strategically expand its program, which includes organizing and supporting significant exhibitions of the artist’s work, fostering new research and publications, advancing educational programs in partnership with arts organizations around the world, and launching groundbreaking initiatives that foster systemic change in the field. As a primary resource on the artist, and a steward of her collection and archive, the Foundation holds an extensive selection of Frankenthaler’s work in a variety of mediums, her collection of works by other artists, and original papers and materials pertaining to her life and work.