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Last updated: 1/25/2017
Home / Gallery Tour 1 / Gallery News / Gallery Tour 2 / Artists

Helen Frankenthaler (American, 1928-2011): Screenprints for Lincoln Center

Jennifer Bartlett, Lynda Benglis, Louise Bourgeois, Jonna Rae Brinkman, Louisa Chase, Chryssa / Sue Coe, Susan Crile,
Lesley Dill, Helen Frankenthaler, Jane Freilicher, Nancy Graves, Harmony Hammond, Judy Chicago,
Anita Jung, Elaine de Kooning, Joyce Kozloff, Lee Krasner, Karen Kunc, Ellen Lanyon, Georgia Marsh, Suzanne McClelland,
Phyllis McGibbon, Joan Mitchell, Elizabeth Murray, Judith Murray, Louise Nevelson, Judy Pfaff,
Jaune Quick-to-see Smith, Joan Root, Susan Rothenberg, Betye Saar, Niki de St. Phalle, Hollis Sigler, Kiki Smith,
Joan Snyder, Pat Steir, May Stevens, Dorothea Tanning, and Emmi Whitehorse

Frankenthaler Special / Womanshow 2000 / Six Women
Heroic Poetry: Brinkman / Frankenthaler / Miró / Mitchell / Motherwell / Nevelson / Tàpies
Helen Frankenthaler has now done six screenprints for Lincoln center, all large and all initially offered well below the market price for such a large piece. Each exists as both a signed and numbered Frankenthaler print without text and as an edition produced from the same screens as the hand-signed one on paper with a printed text to be used as a poster by Lincoln Center and to be sold (in an edition of about 500 impressions) for those who cannot purchase the signed and numbered edition. Each is based upon a painting Frankenthaler executed at about the same time and each is produced under her supervision and hand-signed by her. Frankenthaler's 2000 screenprint for Lincoln Center, Grey Fireworks, produced a near riot among Lincoln Center's dealer network, with over eighty dealers left frustrated and printless. Grey Fireworks is a 63-color screenprint published in an edition of 108 signed and numbered impressions. The image is 28"x46" inches; we matted the impression that we exhibited in a 36"x54" mat; it could be framed without a mat using spacers, depending upon how much space is available to hold it. Lincoln Center was sold out before the publication date, and the price has been rising ever since. We sold out our four signed impressions (the last, with a slight crease in the corner, sold for $4500), but we still have one of the versions with text printed from the same screens in an edition of about 500 impressions (see below). Her newest, Southern Exposure, hand-printed from 51 screens was released last week by Lincoln Center and also sold out on the day of its release to dealers. Originally scheduled for release in July, it was delayed as Frankenthaler added several additional scrrens to the print to achieve the coloristic effects she wanted. Based on an acrylic painting, Southern Exposure is an almost perfect example of Frankenthaler's skill at blending colors, mixing hot with cool, excited with calm, to achieve an atmosphere the both excites and rewards contemplation and mediitation.

Unlike commercial screenprints, which tend to be based upon photographs, an artist’s screenprint or serigraph (for want of a better term) is not a mass-produced photographic reproduction: each color is hand-printed in a separate press run. The screens can be hand-painted, stenciled on, or an image can be laid on the screen photographically. Once the screens are done, ink is forced through the screens onto the paper using a squeegee or vacuum press (for glopping lots of ink through; screenprints by Sam Gilliam or Bill Weege produced on Weege's vacuum press often have the surface texture of oil paintings; Frankenthaler’s tend to be two-dimensional, like Titus-Carmel’s). Normally, after each color is run, the paper is put in a rack until the paper and ink are dry enough for the next color run. Although this work is based upon a painting of the same title, all of the screens were prepared by hand under Frankenthaler’s direction.

Frankenthaler screenprints tend to sell for about the same amount as her lithographs (prices run from about $3500 to $10, 000 depending upon size and complexity; the Lincoln Center prints are quite large and very complex). We recently sold our sixth and last signed and numbered impression of Mary, Mary, her first screenprint for Lincoln Center (which combines photolithography with 4 hand-printed screens) for $4750; last year we sold a visually striking but very simple Frankenthaler screenprint for $4500. Both Solar Imp and Grey Fireworks are much more complex and much more striking; no photolithography is involved. Perhaps a sign of things to come, Tom Lollar at Lincoln Center advised me that in November 2004, an impression of Flirt sold at Christie's for $14,000. Her etchings cost substantially more (the one we have, Plaza Real, which was included in the National Gallery of Art’s Frankenthaler Print Retrospective, sold for $14,250) and her woodcuts tend to sell in the $50,000–90,000 range.
Southern Exposure. Original 51-color silkscreen, September, 2005. Edition: 128 signed and numbered impressions hand-screened at brand-X Editions Ltd. Signed in the screen lower right, signed and numbered in pencil lower left. Image size: 774x940mm (approximately 30.5"x37). Price: SOLD.
Flirt. Original 42-color silkscreen, July, 2003. Edition: 126 signed and numbered impressions on Somerset Textured rag paper plus 18 artists proofs. Tom Lollar at Lincoln Center advised me that in November 2004, an impression of Flirt sold at Christie's for $14,000. Image size: 683x1003mm (approximately 27"x40"). Price: SOLD
Helen Frankenthaler (American, 1928-2011), Solar Imp. Original 35-color screenprint, 2001. 126 signed and nummbered impressions on Somerset Textured Rag paper, of which this is n. 71/126. There were also 18 artist's proofs. Commissioned by Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts to help support the programs at Lincoln Center. In addition to the signed and numbered edition, there was also an unsigned poster edition with a printed text—Lincoln Center Salutes New York CIty Ballet— of about 800, 300 of which were used at Lincoln Center to advertise programs at the Center. Illustrated on p. 191 of Art at Lincoln Center: The Public Art and List Print and Poster Collections (2009). Image size: 1000x760mm. Mat size: 48x38 inches. Price: $9000.
Grey Fireworks. Original 63-color silkscreen, Feb. 2000. Edition: 108 signed and numbered impressions on Somerset Textured rag paper plus 18 artists proofs. Small triangumar handling crease lower left corner c, 1" long and 1/4" maximum height. Image size: 710x1168mm (28"x46"). Price: SOLD.

Still available: the original poster made from the same screens at the same time by Lincoln Center's printer. Edition: c. 800 posters with lettering (as here), of which about 300 were used by Lincoln Center for display at the time. Image size: 710x1168mm (28"x46"). Mat size: 36"x54." Price: $1000.
Mary, Mary. Original 4-color screenprint and photolithograph, 1990. 72 signed and numbered impressions plus 9 artist's proofs.Published by Lincoln Center. There is also an unsigned poster with text. Based upon Frankenthaler's painting, Mary, Mary, this work was commissioned to commemorate the opening of the Samuel and David Rose Building at Lincoln Center. Image size: 1070x812mm. Price: SOLD.

Still available: the original poster made from the same screens at the same time by Lincoln Center's printer. Edition: c. 800 posters with lettering (not shown here), of which about 300 were used by Lincoln Center for display at the time. Repaired almost invisible vertical tear about one inch long about 1/3 of the way from the upper right corner at the top. Image size: 1070x812mm (42-1/8x32 inches); paper size: 1242x812mm (48-7/8x32 inches). SOLD

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