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Helen Frankenthaler Foundation announces Douglas Dreishpoon as Director of Catalogue Raisonné
Chief Curator Emeritus at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York, Mr. Dreishpoon is an art historian, curator, author, and educator. Photo: Tom Loonan, 2017.

NEW YORK, NY.- The Helen Frankenthaler Foundation (HFF) today announced the appointment of Douglas Dreishpoon as Director of the Helen Frankenthaler Catalogue Raisonné, effective March 2017. Chief Curator Emeritus at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York, Mr. Dreishpoon is an art historian, curator, author, and educator with special expertise in visual art from the mid- to late-twentieth century. In his new capacity, he will oversee the development and production of the catalogue raisonné of Helen Frankenthaler’s paintings, works on paper, and mediums other than prints*, which the Foundation intends to publish in both print and digital editions. He will additionally serve as Editor of the publication.

Helen Frankenthaler (1928-2011), whose career spanned six decades, has long been recognized as one of the great American artists of the twentieth century. She was eminent among the second generation of postwar American abstract painters, and is widely credited for her pivotal role in the transition from Abstract Expressionism to Color Field painting. Through her invention of the soak-stain technique, she expanded the parameters of abstract painting, while at times referencing figuration and landscape in unique ways. She produced a body of work whose impact on contemporary art has been profound and continues to grow. Her work is represented in the collections of major museums worldwide, and has been the subject of numerous national and international exhibitions and substantial publications.

The Helen Frankenthaler Foundation was established and endowed by the artist during her lifetime and became active in 2013, on the closing of Frankenthaler’s estate. The Foundation supports the artist’s legacy through a variety of initiatives, including encouraging and facilitating significant exhibitions of the artist’s work, making grants in other areas of the visual arts, and now the publishing of a catalogue raisonné. Its holdings include an extensive selection of Frankenthaler’s work in a variety of mediums, her collection of works by other artists, and original papers and materials pertaining to her life and work. In 2015 the Foundation established the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation Archives to catalog and maintain these materials, which will ultimately aid the preparation of the catalogue raisonné. Planning for the publication will begin once Mr. Dreishpoon has assumed his post; those interested in additional information should refer to the Foundation’s website, where periodic updates will be posted.

Elizabeth Smith, Executive Director of the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, stated: “Creating a catalogue raisonné of Helen Frankenthaler’s work is of the highest importance to the Foundation. Doug’s strong record of curatorial accomplishment, including important publications, make him an ideal leader for the project. We look forward to welcoming him to our staff, where he will also participate in a range of other scholarly and research initiatives.”

Clifford Ross, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, added: “On behalf of the Board, I want to say how much we are looking forward to working with Doug at the Foundation. His energy, curatorial excellence, and scholarship will add an enormous amount to the catalogue raisonné project—a central element of our efforts.”

Mr. Dreishpoon said: “For more than three decades, my curatorial focus has been primarily American art of the mid- to late-twentieth century. I have had a longstanding interest in Helen Frankenthaler’s work, which led naturally to the exhibition, Giving Up One’s Mark: Helen Frankenthaler in the 1960s and 1970s, which I organized for the Albright-Knox in 2014-15. The opportunity to assume this responsible position with the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, to initiate and oversee the catalogue raisonné project, is thrilling.”

For sixteen years, from 1998 to the present, Mr. Dreishpoon has held a succession of curatorial positions at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, one of North America’s oldest museums dedicated to the art of our time, culminating, since 2014, in Chief Curator Emeritus. He has additionally worked on numerous projects with artistendowed foundations, including most recently as curatorial advisor to the Nancy Holt Estate, 2015-present. From 1995-98 he was Adjunct Assistant Professor and Curator of Collections for the Weatherspoon Art Museum at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, where he also served as Interim Director from 1997-98; from 1992-95 he was Curator of Contemporary Art at the Tampa Museum of Art.

During his tenure at the Albright-Knox he organized monographic exhibitions for painters and sculptors including Petah Coyne, Edwin Dickinson, Guillermo Kuitca, Robert Mangold, and Ken Price. In 2014-15 he collaborated with the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation to mount the exhibition of the artist’s work referred to above, and concurrently curated Imperfections by Chance, a retrospective of paintings, sculptures, and works on paper by Paul Feeley, a close friend and former teacher of Frankenthaler’s at Bennington College.

Mr. Dreishpoon’s essays, artist interviews, and reviews have appeared in such magazines and journals as Art in America, Art Journal, ARTnews, Archives of American Art Journal, and Sculpture. His book What is Sculpture? will be published in 2019 by the University of California Press, Berkeley, for the Documents of 20th-Century Art Series.

Douglas Dreishpoon holds a BA from Skidmore College, an MA from Tufts University, and a PhD from the Graduate School of the City University of New York, all in Art History. He is a former board member of the American Section of the International Association of Art Critics. In addition to his art-world credentials, he is a jazz drummer and percussionist.

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