Helen Frankenthaler (American, 1928 – 2011)
Hansel and Gretel, 1975
Acrylic on canvas
93 x 57 in (236.2 x 145 cm)
Fitzwilliam Museum
On loan from a private collection
© 2016 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc./ARSNY


In Hansel and Gretel, Frankenthaler refers to the German fairytale in which two children get lost in the woods and stumble upon the house of a witch.  It can be argued that Frankenthaler saw aspects of the story in this vertical composition.  The black line on the right-hand side could be the witch standing behind the brown door.  Hansel and Gretel, the two green verticals, are waiting to enter the witch’s home.  Stylistically, at this time, Frankenthaler began to utilize masking tape on her canvases to create certain lines that would become rough and blurred if removed when the paint was wet.


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