Helen Frankenthaler Foundation

Message from Executive Director - Foundation

February 2024


Helen Frankenthaler was one of the most innovative and prolific artists of her time. Her impact and legacy reverberate in art practices today and through the Foundation’s ongoing work. This year begins the Foundation’s second decade of activity, and as befits this important moment, our team is growing.


We recently welcomed colleagues to newly created positions that will expand our collection’s growing profile and develop our educational and philanthropic programs.

Spanning exhibitions and loans, research and writing, public programs, and grants to organizations, our current and recent work reveals the deepening and broadening of the Foundation’s pursuit of substantive, impactful ways to shape and guide the artistic legacy of Helen Frankenthaler in accordance with our mission.


A hallmark of the Foundation’s activity is the increased presence of Frankenthaler’s work in international contexts. Our robust loans program includes current and upcoming solo exhibitions and participation in group shows at museums in North America and around the world. We are thrilled to announce the opening of Helen Frankenthaler: Painting without Rules in fall 2024 at Palazzo Strozzi in Florence. This largest and most significant exhibition of Frankenthaler’s work in Italy to date interweaves paintings created by Frankenthaler between 1953 and 2002 with select works by some of her contemporaries, including Anthony Caro, Kenneth Noland, Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, David Smith, and Anne Truitt,  and will be accompanied by a major publication.

We are also eagerly anticipating eminent scholar John Elderfield’s updated and revised monograph on Helen Frankenthaler’s work, a substantial addition to the literature on Frankenthaler, slated to be published in the late spring.


The Foundation’s philanthropic efforts will continue unabated in 2024. We recently inaugurated the Helen Frankenthaler Research Fellowship at the Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM), which acts as an extension to our support for undergraduate and graduate education into the postgraduate sphere. We have also just announced the launch of the Frankenthaler Climate Initiative’s fourth funding cycle. The first of its kind in the visual arts sector, this unique program supports visual art museums’, schools’, and nonprofit organizations’ efforts to mitigate their climate footprint.


FCI is part of a larger vision to broaden the reach of Frankenthaler’s legacy and includes scholarships and programs for undergraduate and graduate students in the arts, recognition of exceptional talent through named residencies and awards, and support for artists and cultural heritage at risk. Intertwined with our scholarly, educational, and curatorial objectives, these programs bring an invigorated sense of purpose to our work.

To keep apprised of all our programs and initiatives, we invite you to visit our website often for updates, to follow us on social media, and to subscribe to the Foundation’s newsletter if it does not already reach you.


Elizabeth Smith, Executive Director