Untitled (Thanksgiving Day)

Helen Frankenthaler

Frankenthaler’s series Thanksgiving Day comprises a series of 71 ceramic tiles, each unique, and painted over the Thanksgiving weekend of 1973. Painting over a holiday was typical for Frankenthaler: ‘It’s just for the time I am totally creating a work. I am obsessed and the energy flows, the adrenalin flows, the ideas flow’. Inspired by Míro's ceramic wall at the Guggenheim Museum, Frankenthaler had experimented with painting on stoneware at a ceramic studio in upstate New York. Thus galvanized, she prepared over one hundred tiles to paint on over Thanksgiving weekend. Every tile was the same size and shape, but each was an unique creation.

Frankenthaler's tender painterliness allows the glaze on each work to run and bleed, whilst lines frame the composition on three sides. This pattern is loosely followed throughout the series. The U-shaped format relates back to the drawn squares in her paintings of the late 1950s and to her works completed in Provincetown in 1961. There is also a distinct connexion between the Thanksgiving Day series and her banner paintings of the late 1960s.

Helen Frankenthaler (1928-2011)
Untitled (Thanksgiving Day)
Unique painting on ceramic tile
33.7 x 44.5 x 2.5 cm: 13 1/4 x 17 1/2 x 1 ins
Signed lower right
Bernard Jacobson Gallery, London
No Longer available

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