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Soak-Stained Landscapes

Featuring Helen Frankenthaler's Round Trip, 1979

Helen Frankenthaler (American, 1928–2011). Round Trip, 1957. Oil on canvas support: 70 1/4 x 70 1/4 inches (178.435 x 178.435 cm). Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York; Gift of James I. Merrill, 1958 (RCA1958:1). © Estate of Helen Frankenthaler / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Lesson Plan Details

Conceptual Basis

Inspired by childhood travel, Helen Frankenthaler transformed real and imagined landscapes into deep abstract paintings in which elements of nature became organic shapes and rich fields of color. Frankenthaler created these shapes and colors using her own soak-stain technique, which consists of pouring thinned paint onto large, untreated canvases, thereby staining the canvases with color.