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Helen Frankenthaler, one of the great American artists of the twentieth century, took creative pride in her risks and experimentations. Her transcendent understanding of color and composition influenced how we approached the packaging design for Kelsen Products.

Frankenthaler was respected by postwar American abstract painters and held a large role in transitioning Abstract Expressionism to Color Field painting [a style of American abstract painting popular between the late ‘40s to the ‘60s featuring vast freeform color masses covering the majority of the canvas]. Her work was led by feeling; she let the visuals speak for themselves. She pushed the boundaries of art philosophy. In an interview with The New York Times in 2003 she said, “There are no rules. Let the picture lead you where it must go.”

This attitude translated into her breakthrough piece Mountain and Sea (1952). The larger than life painting, standing roughly nine feet wide by six feet high, captured the gestural elements and organic forms of nature -- the very essence of her subject matter.

We looked toward topographical maps and wanted to capture the essence of movement from the beautiful linework. In an attempt to distill these maps down to the core, Frankenthaler’s Color Field paintings influenced the “Kelsen Camo” patterns found on our packaging.


Featured Image: Frankenthaler in her studio at Third Avenue and East 94th Street, New York, with Mediterranean Thoughts (1960, in progress, left) and Figure with Thoughts (1960, in progress, center), March 1960. © Tony Vaccaro.


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