Mountains and Sea (1952) by Helen Frankenthaler

Mountains and Sea - Helen Frankenthaler - 1952

Artwork Information

TitleMountains and Sea
ArtistHelen Frankenthaler
Mediumcharcoal,Oil on Canvas
Dimensions220 x 297.8 cm
Art MovementAbstract Expressionism
Current LocationNational Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
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About Mountains and Sea

Mountains and Sea is a renowned painting by Helen Frankenthaler, an American abstract expressionist painter. She created it in 1952, and it was her debut professional exhibit. The painting is a representation of the landscape of Nova Scotia, where she recently vacationed. Frankenthaler implemented her soak-stain process in this groundbreaking piece by pouring thinned paint onto raw, unprimed canvas. Mountains and Sea despite its large size is a work of intimate quietness and an example of Frankenthaler’s technique of making pictures entirely by “staining.”

Mountains and Sea played a fundamental role in the development of Color Field Painting, and Frankenthaler’s brilliantly colored canvases were highly praised for their lyrical qualities. Despite the ongoing debate over the impact of gender on her art, it is widely agreed that Abstract Expressionism thrived in a particularly masculine and ‘heroic’ narrative. The painting remains an iconic masterpiece, and her style of abstraction is still evident in modern art. Mountains and Sea has contributed immensely to the art world, specifically in the realm of abstract expressionism.

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