First Day at the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation

First day of classes for the Museum Fellows Program!

At 1pm, on Friday January 6th, I arrived to 134 W 26th St, and at the direction of a sweet doorman, I made my way up to the 10th floor. The elevator opened up to the entrance of a beautiful, pristine, gallery styled office with glass doors and a large print of a young Helen Frankenthaler at work on a painting.

As I enter through floor-to-ceiling glass doors, a cheerful Elizabeth White greets me, happy to see her students trickling in. All of us arrive early, none of us having gotten lost in the city maze, mostly by the gift of GPS, and all of us excited to get started.

The room we will be residing in for the next five months is lined with books from Frankenthaler’s original estate collection. The books on display are mostly art based, but we have been told by one of the office assistants that there are many more ranging from all kinds of genres, showcasing Frankenthaler’s love of books.

The classroom


For our first meeting we go over the curriculum, expectations, and the incredibly detailed reading list Liz has thoughtfully put together for us. Because of the diversity of the fellows this term, Liz has taken the opportunity to choose texts from all mediums of art and created the opportunity for each of us to explore our own interests in more depth, while also creating a rounded curriculum for everyone.




Walking around the foundation




At the end of the four hour class, we take a tour of the Foundation’s office space, the walls lined in Frankenthaler’s works. There are dozens of filing cabinets in every other room, archives of Frankenthaler’s life, works, and contributions to the art world.



Hopefully we will be given the opportunity to explore and learn more about the former Bennington student, and incredible artist, Helen Frankenthaler.

Helen Frankenthaler’s personal tools and paints

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