Press Release

Helen Frankenthaler Foundation Awards Gifts and Funding to PAFA

PHILADELPHIA (December 12, 2018) -- The Helen Frankenthaler Foundation has selected the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) to receive ten Frankenthaler prints, up to ten proofs by the artist and a $25,000 grant to exhibit and study the works over three years.

The Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, which was established and endowed by the artist Helen Frankenthaler (1928–2011) during her lifetime and became active in 2013, chose ten American museums, including PAFA, for their "dedicated commitment to prints as a significant collecting area and teaching tool, while having few or no examples of Frankenthaler's prints in their collections."

The gifts—spanning etching, lithography, monotype or monoprint, pochoir, screenprint, woodcut, and other techniques, sometimes in combination—will reflect the variety of media Frankenthaler used in her work.

The $25,000 grant will allow PAFA to provide programming during print exhibitions planned for the winter of 2020.

PAFA currently has two major works by Helen Frankenthaler in its permanent collection, Walnut Hedge (1971) and Cameo (1980). Walnut Hedge was on display in PAFA's summer exhibition, Infinite Spaces: Rediscovering PAFA's Permanent Collection. The Frankenthaler Foundation generously supported Infinite Spaces, on view from July 1 – September 9, 2018.

"Everyone at PAFA is honored to be selected for the inaugural Frankenthaler Prints Initiative, particularly because printmaking has a long and distinguished history here," said Brooke Davis Anderson, Edna S. Tuttleman Director of the Museum at PAFA. "We look forward to working with the Foundation on our upcoming Print Season in the museum galleries."

Elizabeth Smith, Executive Director of the Foundation, said, "Helen Frankenthaler was eminent among the second generation of post-war American abstract painters, and widely known as one of the most significant printmakers of her time. Through gifts and grants to university art museums, the Frankenthaler Prints Initiative will enrich their collections and make possible the study of her many innovative contributions to the printmaking field."

Helen Frankenthaler, whose career spanned six decades, has long been recognized as one of the great American artists of the twentieth century, widely credited for her pivotal role in the transition from Abstract Expressionism to Color Field Painting. She produced a body of work whose impact on contemporary art has been profound and continues to grow. Her work is represented in the collections of major museums worldwide and has been the subject of numerous national and international exhibitions and substantial publications.

The Helen Frankenthaler Foundation supports the artist's legacy through a variety of initiatives, including encouraging and facilitating significant exhibitions of Frankenthaler's work, grant-making, and the publishing of a catalog raisonné. Its holdings include an extensive selection of Frankenthaler's work in a variety of mediums, her collection of works by other artists, and original papers and materials pertaining to her life and work. For more information, visit

Last Updated
December 14, 2018 - 2:17 PM

About PAFA

Founded in 1805, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts is America's first school and museum of fine arts. A recipient of the National Medal of Arts, PAFA offers undergraduate and graduate programs in the fine arts, innovative exhibitions of historic and contemporary American art, and a world-class collection of American art. PAFA’s esteemed alumni include Mary Cassatt, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, William Glackens, Barkley L. Hendricks, Violet Oakley, Louis Kahn, David Lynch, and Henry Ossawa Tanner.