Helen Frankenthaler - Mirabelle
American, b. 1928
Mirabelle, 1985-1990
Lithograph, 30 x 37 inches
Artist's Proof 12/14 (from an edition of 56)
Tyler Graphics Ltd.

Gift of Thomas S. Porter (MBA '67)

Frankenthaler has been creating lyrical abstractions derived from nature since the 1950s. She has produced a substantial body of work, including her signature large-scale paintings and numerous editions of prints. Associated with the ideals of Abstract Expressionism, she proceeds from chance and random gestures to orchestrate spontaneous form.

For the lithograph Mirabelle, Frankenthaler generated color washes around the associations of its namesake: the indigenous French and german plum tree whose fruit is used for making preserves and liqueurs. With varying shades of purple, she suggests a nocturnal seascape. Above an implied horizon line and below a radiant sphere, a billowing phantasmagoric shape floats. A string of segmented colors tethers itself to either end of Frankenthaler's enigmatic form, both leashing it and suggesting, perhaps, the chromosomal stuff out of which it was fabricated in the artist's imagination. Whatever it may be, it is wondrous, as the word "mirabelle" itself means in Latin.