Helen Frankenthaler’s 1974 painting Robinson’s Wrap is a significant work in the history of postwar American art. Frankenthaler was a major contributor to abstract expressionism and exhibited her work for over six decades. She developed a unique pouring technique in which she thinned the paint with turpentine and poured it onto raw canvas to create forms and rich colors.
Frankenthaler’s use of this technique allowed her to evolve from her early “college Cubism” phase to her mature style, cementing her as one of the most influential artists of the mid-century. In Robinson’s Wrap, one can see Frankenthaler’s mastery of color and form through its large swaths of bright blue, green, yellow, and pink against a white background. The layers built up through the pouring technique give depth to the painting while also creating a sense of movement.
In addition to her use of color and form, Frankenthaler was also an innovator in materials. In the 1960s she began using acrylic paints in place of oil, further expanding the possibilities for abstract painting. Through Robinson’s Wrap and other works like it, Helen Frankenthaler continues to inspire new generations of artists with her innovative techniques and bold use of color.