Yellow Span

Helen Frankenthaler American
Published by Universal Limited Art Editions American

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 690

Frankenthaler is celebrated for her "soak-stain" paintings, whose aesthetic she translated for prints such as Yellow Span, her first intaglio work. Rather than incise the printing plate with an etching needle, she used aquatint, a method that allowed her to paint a sugar solution on the plate’s surface and create the sheer stains and layered washes of color she was known for. Undulating forms seem suspended in space, mirroring the gravity-defying stains Frankenthaler made in her paintings by working with the canvas on the floor. This print shows Frankenthaler’s mastery of color. It is dominated by a vibrant yellow that floats atop billowing waves of blue, green, and orange. Traces of white from the paper support provide a thin outline for the colored forms, preventing them from bleeding into each other.

Yellow Span, Helen Frankenthaler (American, New York 1928–2011 Darien, Connecticut), Sugar-lift aquatint

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