Helen Frankenthaler - 20th c. & Contemporary Art Day Sale, Morning Session New York Thursday, July 2, 2020 | Phillips

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  • Thanksgiving Day Tiles

    Over the Thanksgiving weekend of 1973, Helen Frankenthaler created a rare series of ceramic tiles, each uniquely painted. In the same year, she had started work on a monumental ceramic tile mural that was commissioned by the North Central Bronx Hospital. Lauded by Barbara Rose as an "experimenter with new media and new techniques" when the series of so-called Thanksgiving Day tiles were exhibited at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York in 1975, Frankenthaler remarkably translated the ethereal, suffused effect of her soaked canvases in the domain of ceramics.

  • Andy Williams: A Music Legend

    The great music legend Andy Williams — who popularized timeless hits such as “Moon River” and “Can't Take My Eyes Off You — represents the epitome of the American dream. In his 74 year career, the singer soared from modest circumstances to incredible success, selling more than 100 million records worldwide, achieving gold and platinum status for many of his albums, and winning three Emmy awards for his television program The Andy Williams Show, among many other accomplishments.

    “Throughout my life, I have always been collecting… I could not imagine a life without paintings”
    — Andy Williams

    His passion for music was matched perhaps only by his love for art. A collector in the truest sense, over six decades he built an impressive collection of modern and contemporary art that included, among works by artists such as Pablo Picasso, Willem de Kooning, Hans Hofmann and Franz Kline, Helen Frankenthaler’s masterpiece Head of the Meadow, 1967, and the gem 1973 (Thanksgiving Day), both of which have remained with the family until the present day.

    While fascinated by Abstract Expressionists such as Hans Hofmann, Willem de Kooning and Franz Kline, Williams felt a particular affinity for such Color Field artists as Helen Frankenthaler, Morris Louis and Kenneth Noland. It was during an art trip to New York that he acquired Frankenthaler’s masterpiece Head of the Meadow, 1967, from André Emmerich Gallery — marking the beginning of his decade-long support of Frankenthaler’s work.

    • Provenance

      André Emmerich Gallery, New York
      Andy Williams, Palm Springs
      Thence by descent to the present owner

    • Exhibited

      New York, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Helen Frankenthaler: Tiles, May - June 1975

    • Artist Biography

      Helen Frankenthaler

      Helen Frankenthaler was one of the most influential members of the second generation of Abstract Expressionists and had a considerable impact on the transition from the prevailing New York School sensibilities to the subsequent Color Field style. Frankenthaler first achieved widespread praise for the opaque, floating fields of color of her 1952 painting Mountain and Sea, created using a technique that involved pouring thinned paint onto untreated canvases that had been laid on the floor of her studio. This so-called “soak-stain” technique was an acclaimed overture to Frankenthaler’s tireless experimentations with other styles and media throughout her career, including work in ceramics, sculpture, and printmaking.  

      Frankenthaler’s distinguished career has been widely celebrated since its beginnings. She was featured in the storied 1951 Ninth Street Show in New York as well as in Clement Greenberg’s 1964 Post-Painterly Abstraction exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Frankenthaler co-represented the United States at the 33rd Venice Biennale in 1966 and received the National Medal of the Arts in 2001.  

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Property formerly from the Collection of Andy Williams


1973 (Thanksgiving Day)

signed "Frankenthaler" on the reverse
painted and glazed ceramic tile
13 1/2 x 17 1/2 in. (34.3 x 44.3 cm)
Executed in 1973.

Full Cataloguing

$15,000 - 20,000 

Sold for $47,500

Contact Specialist

John McCord
Head of Day Sale, Morning Session
New York
+1 212 940 1261

20th c. & Contemporary Art Day Sale, Morning Session

New York Auction 2 July 2020