Remembering John Chamberlain and Helen Frankenthaler


John Chamberlain, 1927-2011  and Helen Frankenthaler, 1928-2011

The closing month of 2011 saw the deaths of two great artists represented in theTyler collection – John Chamberlain on December 21 and Helen Frankenthaler on December 27. During the course of their long careers these two artists made significant contributions to the art world and their loss will be deeply felt.

Chamberlain worked with Tyler at Gemini GEL in 1971 to produce a small multiple: Le molé. The basis for this sculpture was a crumpled paper shopping bag that Chamberlain coated in polyester resin and then cast. It was then aluminium plated and covered with silicon oxide, giving the work a lustre that resembles the assemblages created from car parts for which he is best known.

 Le molé, 1971

Read more about Chamberlain’s life and work in the New York Times:

Frankenthaler and Tyler worked together for decades on several projects. Beginning in 1976 and continuing until the close of the Tyler Graphics workshop in 2001, theirs was a working relationship marked by innovation and adventure. The prints she created at Tyler Graphics are typical of her signature style, where pools of pools of colour spread spontaneously across the surface. Achieving the fluidity that is so characteristic of her canvases was no mean feat in print, but a challenge that Tyler met with his usual enthusiasm and technical skill. The resulting prints are some of the most beautiful to come out of the workshop.

Below you can see a selection of works from some of the projects Frankenthaler completed at Tyler Graphics. You can read a New York Times article published after her death here:


Essence mulberry, 1977

Tales of Gengi III, 1998

Madame Butterfly, 2000

More information about both Chamberlain and Frankenthaler and their work with Tyler can be found on our website: You can also read Roberta Smith’s article discussing Chamberlain and Frankenthaler here:

Ken Tyler’s personal account of working with Frankenthaler is forthcoming.


  1. Stephen Lyons

    Hello,I have photographs that show Helen Frankenthaler in her studio painting.I am trying to find someone who can help me identify what she is working on.I have many rare photos of her.My email is contact me if you could help.I will send images through the email for you to see.Thanks,Steve

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