Announcing two major, university-level education initiatives

Announcing two major, university-level education initiatives

Helen Frankenthaler Foundation

Helen Frankenthaler, Untitled, 1967. Screenprint, 25 3/4 x 17 7/8 inches (65.4 x 45.4 cm). © 2018 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / Chiron Press, New York. Photo: Steven Sloman. Courtesy of Helen Frankenthaler Foundation.

November 30, 2018
Announcing two major, university-level education initiatives
Arts funding and gifts expand reach to students of art and art history
November 30, 2018
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The Helen Frankenthaler Foundation (HFF) today announced two new initiatives for arts funding: the Frankenthaler Scholarships in painting and art history and the Frankenthaler Prints Initiative for university-affiliated museums. These multi-year efforts will greatly expand the Foundation’s reach to students of art and art history at the undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate levels.

Clifford Ross, Chair of the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation’s Board of Trustees, stated, “Helen had a strong interest in supporting college- and university-level art education. Her own fortunate training at Bennington, and her active lecture schedule at art schools and universities during her career, made her aware of the benefits of an enlightened and stimulating education. With Frankenthaler Scholarships, we hope to extend Helen’s interests to help outstanding students who will particularly benefit from our financial support.” 

Elizabeth Smith, Executive Director of the Foundation, added, “Helen Frankenthaler (1928–2011) was eminent among the second generation of postwar 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.”

In its first year, Frankenthaler Scholarships will support outstanding MFA students concentrating in painting. The Foundation will make one-time endowment gifts of USD 500,000 to each of four MFA programs to create annual scholarships for selected students, who will be identified by faculty associated with the programs. Chosen for their excellence as well as for their geographic diversity within the U.S., the first year’s grant recipients are:

Columbia University School of the Arts
School of the Art Institute of Chicago
UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture
Yale School of Art

In addition to the endowment gifts, each institution will receive funds to develop a program in association with the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, which might range from a lecture, to a session for students at the Foundation’s study center in New York City, to visits to the school by art historians and curators familiar with Helen Frankenthaler’s work. 

In the second year of the Frankenthaler Scholarships initiative, the Foundation will make USD 500,000 gifts to each of an additional four MFA or PhD art history programs, which will be announced at a later date.

Also this month, the Foundation will launch the Frankenthaler Prints Initiative for university museums, comprising gifts of selected prints by the artist to ten museums. Each will receive ten prints and five to ten related trial proofs, drawn from the Foundation’s extensive collection of prints by the artist. 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.

Each museum will also receive a one-time grant of USD 25,000 to develop a project or program for the study, presentation, and interpretation of the works within a three-year timeframe.

Ruth Fine, former Curator of Special Projects in Modern Art at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and a leading authority on Frankenthaler’s prints, has selected the prints and is working with the Foundation as an advisor on the multi-year initiative.

The museums have been selected 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. These are:

Blanton Museum of Art at The University of Texas at Austin
Bowdoin College Museum of Art
University of South Florida Contemporary Art Museum
Grunwald Center for the Graphic Arts/Hammer Museum, UCLA
The Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
Princeton University Art Museum
RISD Museum, Rhode Island School of Design
SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah College of Art and Design
Spencer Museum of Art, University of Kansas, Lawrence

The second group of museums for the prints initiative will be announced in 2019.

Helen Frankenthaler(1928–2011), 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 was established and endowed by the artist during her lifetime and became active in 2013, on the closing of the artist’s estate. The 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 catalogue 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.


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November 30, 2018

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