The Helen Frankenthaler Foundation is planning a catalogue raisonné of the American artist's work and has hired the art historian and curator Douglas Dreishpoon to direct the project.
Dreishpoon, who takes the role in March, comes from the Albright-Knox Gallery in Buffalo, New York, where he is chief curator emeritus. There, in 2014, he organised the exhibition Giving Up One’s Mark, which looked at Frankenthaler’s work from the 1960s and 1970s.
He says the catalogue raisonné project will allow researchers and readers to “perceive the nuances” of Frankenthaler’s 60-year career. “I’ve had great experiences with catalogues raisonné as an art historian because you really see how an artist is thinking from one move to the next,” he says.
Although Frankenthaler is best known for her paintings—and especially Mountains and Sea (1952), which inspired the painters Kenneth Noland and Morris Louis—the publication will illustrate the diversity of her oeuvre.
“Her painterly language was extremely varied,” says the foundation’s executive director, Elizabeth Smith, noting that Frankenthaler used brushes and brooms in addition with stains to make her work. She also made sculptures and works in ceramic tiles, which will be included in the catalogue.
The first task for Dreishpoon is to establish the mechanics of the project, including a database, before scholarly work can begin.
“I am thrilled, as a former museum curator, to have someone of Douglas’s calibre and background to take leadership over such a project,” Smith says.