Paint and canvas merge in this work, creating a lively sense of movement and flow. Helen Frankenthaler invented the “soak-stain” technique in 1953, when she allowed diluted oil paints to saturate raw canvas, and she adapted the process here by adding a few dynamic lines and spatters that dart spontaneously. The resulting image reads almost like a window opening onto a scene of strange trees, glowing orbs, and colorful numbers.

Artists Morris Louis (whose work is to the left) and Kenneth Noland visited Frankenthaler’s New York studio in 1953 and found her work revelatory. “She showed us a way to think about and use color,” recalled Noland. Louis claimed, “She was a bridge between Pollock and what was possible.”



  • Title: Scene with Blue 6
  • Creator: Helen Frankenthaler
  • Date Created: 1961
  • Physical Dimensions: 64 x 80 in. (162.6 x 203.2 cm)
  • Credit Line: Gift of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr.
  • Rights: © Helen Frankenthaler / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
  • Medium: Oil on canvas

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