Helen Frankenthaler was born in New York City in 1928. She attended the Dalton School, where she studied under Rufino Tamayo. She received a BFA from Bennington College in Vermont in 1949. She returned to New York, where she became a notable Abstract Expressionist painter in the early 1950s.
Her first solo museum retrospective was in 1960 at The Jewish Museum in New York City. In 2001, she was awarded the National Medal of Arts and in 2003 she received the Skowhegan Medal for Painting. She is a member of the National Institute of Arts and Letters.
Her work is included in many permanent collections across the country including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York; Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, New York; San Francisco Museum of Art, San Francisco, California; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, New York; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C.; and The Museum of Modern Art, New York, New York.
Helen Frankenthaler died in Darien, CT in December of 2011.