Helen Frankenthaler (American, 1928-2011)
Acrylic on canvas 
132-1/8 x 93 in. (335.6 x 236.2 cm) 
Credit Line:
Norton Simon Museum, Gift of the Artist 
Accession Number:
Not on View

“What concerns me when I work is not whether the picture is a landscape, or whether it’s pastoral, or whether someone will see a sunset in it. What concerns me is—did I make a beautiful picture?” —Helen Frankenthaler, 1989

Spanning the gap between 1950s Abstract Expressionism and 1960s Color Field painting, Helen Frankenthaler’s “soak-stain” technique was a monumental bridge for Modern art. The “soak-stain” technique involved diluting oil paint until it was fluid enough to pour onto raw canvas from a coffee can. In the lower-left corner, the “soak-stain” effect is visible, as one color competes and blends with its contiguous rival. The acrylic is so thinly applied to the canvas that the texture of the raw cotton beneath can be seen clearly.

Frankenthaler’s Adriatic was graciously donated by the artist to the Pasadena Art Museum in 1969.


Helen Frankenthaler, gift 1969 to;
Pasadena Art Museum, Pasadena, 1969-1975;
Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena, 1975.

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